A delicacies that is remarkably numerous from its north to south, Armenian meals is not simply wealthy in flavors – it is wealthy in historical past, as effectively. Offered with modest simplicity, the dishes and wine traditions right here, a few of the first on the planet, can solely be understood when you step foot within the nation, making Armenia a vacation spot that ought to now not be ignored, particularly by gastronomes and oenophiles.
However what’s it about Armenian meals that is worthy of a discerning traveler’s consideration? And why now? Possibly it is the explosive flavors that include each chunk. Or the traditions and tales behind even the only of dishes, from khash to horats panir. Or this excerpt from cookbook writer Lena Tachdjian in Vegan Armenian Kitchen that solutions these questions completely, “it is the strong taste of the native produce – whether or not it’s eggplants, mushrooms, tomatoes, and even simply recent greens and herbs. Armenian delicacies permits for easy meals that spotlight these components to shine and communicate for themselves.”
Whereas trying out the native eating places and cafes in Yerevan offers guests a surface-level introduction to Armenian meals, there are much better methods to discover the delicacies – and to do a deep dive into its traditions, strategies, and the individuals preserving this a part of their heritage alive. And meaning getting out, getting your palms soiled, and exploring by means of these 11 completely different culinary experiences in Armenia.
Go on a Wild Meals Journey with 2492
Journey to a land untouched with 2492’s Wild Meals Adventures, an interactive culinary expertise set in Armenia’s nice outside the place native hosts sit down and share a 3-course meal made with conventional recipes and regionally sourced components with visitors. Right here, you will not simply find out about Armenia’s wealthy culinary traditions and historical past – you will change into part of them. Select between three adventures: the Areni Cliffs, an Areni winery, or the Yeranos Mountains. The Areni Cliffs provide the likelihood to see endangered bezoar goats with a hen’s-eye view of the Thirteenth-century Noravank Monastery whereas the Areni winery expertise offers you the possibility to sip native wine in a golden-hued discipline because the solar units behind you . Or, lastly, go for the 2492 journey within the Yeranos Mountains the place you will be transported to a Martian-like terrain earlier than settling right down to a standard meal among the many mountaintops.
Go Foraging at Sona Guesthouse
Dsegh village is one in every of Armenia’s most wanted escapes and Sona Guesthouse is the right cease for hungry vacationers passing by. Run by Ashot and Anahit Bezhanyan, the guesthouse is known as after one in every of their grandchildren. With a handful of culinary experiences to choose from, every of them requires placing in some work earlier than you possibly can benefit from the fruits of your labor. Relying on the season, forage for mushrooms, native herbs (corresponding to hornbeam and malva), berries (together with blackberries, rosehip, and cornel), or different crops within the inexperienced mountains and forests of Lori. As soon as you have rounded up your haul, Ashot and Anahit will educate you tips on how to make soups, salads, preserves, or juice, the standard Armenian manner.
Make Sasna Klulik at Noosh Guesthouse
In Aragatsotn province, the tiny village of Ashnak is house to Noosh, a guesthouse and restaurant run by native Ani Hovhannisyan and her good friend, Gayane Malishenko. The Armenian phrase for almond, the guesthouse’s title represents the 23 almond bushes positioned on the guesthouse grounds. Noosh provides a deep dive into Sasun tradition and cooking, a tradition that continues to be robust in the present day after they have been compelled to relocate right here greater than a century in the past. Visitors are given the possibility to strive their hand at making sasna klulik, a savory dish produced from pickled cabbage, wheat, and spices. When you plan your journey on the proper time, it’s possible you’ll even have the chance to look at performances of yarkhushta, kochari, and different conventional dances whereas having fun with a meal along with your new Sasun mates.
Bury Horats Panir at Outdated Martiros Guesthouse
Hamlet Yeghiadzaryan and Gohar Babayan are the husband-wife crew that runs Outdated Martiros Guesthouse in one of many oldest villages in Armenia. Created to cater to adventurers trying to make the most of the brand new mountain climbing trails developed within the area, the guesthouse not solely provides a cushty place to remain for the night time however visitors are additionally greeted with quite a lot of culinary experiences, corresponding to studying tips on how to make ‘horats panir’ cheese, a buried cheese that originates in Yeghegnadzor, Vayk, and close by villages. Gohar will present you tips on how to press the cheese into clay pots and add native, hand-picked mountain herbs in between layers to complement its taste. You may then head to the cellar to retailer it, the place it’ll stay for 3-5 months earlier than it is able to be loved.
Eat the Better of Meghri at Khachats Toun
Extra of a DIY expertise, heading to Armenia’s far south provides the chance to expertise a complete new world of flavors, fruits, and hospitality. Situated on the Iranian border, Meghri’s archaeological finds date again to the Seventh-century BC, and town boasts a meals tradition all its personal. The town is especially recognized for its pomegranates, which additionally occur to be one of many nationwide symbols of Armenia. Vacationers will even discover olives, quince, persimmons, medlar, kiwi, and extra rising within the area.
To actually expertise the hospitality and meals of Meghri, cease into Khachats Toun Heritage Lodge. Based by native Shahane Khachikyan in her household’s historic house, Khachats Toun hosts visitors from everywhere in the globe trying to put their style buds to the check with a few of the most interesting components from Southern Syunik, together with the area’s most interesting fruit-infused vodkas.
Go to an Armenian Gastro Yard at Yeganyans
A spot the place visitors can actually expertise the native tradition, Armenia’s new ‘gastro yards’ give vacationers the possibility to style their manner by native dishes, and even take a culinary masterclass whereas they’re at it. At this time, you will discover them dotted throughout varied components of the nation, with one specifically in Ashtarak price searching for out – Yeganyans’ Visitor Home and Wine Yard. Run by locals Nelly and Sedrak, Sedrak has his personal winery close by the place he grows greater than ten sorts of grapes that he makes use of to make his personal wine. Visitors are invited to be taught extra about this course of and can even have the possibility to bottle wine to take house with them. Whereas vacationers spend time with Sedrak studying about Armenian wine, it is Nelly’s home made meals that spherical out this gastro yard go to.
Style Armenian Cheese on the Mikayelyan Household Farm
Within the small village of Artsvakar in Armenia’s Gegharkunik area, gastronomes will probably be delighted to seek out Mikayelyan Household Farm, a family-owned cheesemaking farm that has gained nationwide recognition throughout Armenia lately. The fashionable facility is a spot the place you possibly can be taught extra about caseiculture (the artwork of constructing cheese), tour the cheese cellar, and pair the expertise with an assorted platter of cheese and native wines. What’s most original about this expertise are the Armenian-centric components highlighted within the cheesemaking course of – pattern every thing from a surprisingly scrumptious sea buckthorn unfold to cheese rinds outstanding with cognac, wine, or mint and choose your favourite cheeses to take with you on the highway .
Sit Among the many Vineyards at Momik Wines
Wine experiences in Armenia are a inform me a dozen however Momik Wines provides an expertise like no different. The Armenian vineyard has been in Nver Ghazaryan’s household for almost half a century, they usually deal with rising endemic Areni grapes from the area, which additionally occurs to be the place the world’s oldest vineyard is discovered. At this time, Nver and his spouse Narine aren’t simply well-known for his or her grapes – the winery is a primary instance of OneArmenia’s Farm-to-Bottle initiative, a program that inspired native grape farmers to maintain their yield and create their very own wines as an alternative of promoting to bigger producers. For the perfect expertise at Momik Wines, e-book a wine tasting paired with a small number of meals and sit amongst a few of the world’s oldest vines whereas sipping on wine produced from these extraordinary Areni and Kharji grapes.
Take a Culinary Masterclass at Lodge Mirhav
Situated within the coronary heart of Goris, Lodge Mirhav is without doubt one of the first resorts in-built post-Soviet Armenia. Whereas the sensation right here is opulent with out the pretentiousness, it is the gastronomic experiences the lodge provides that basically set it other than others within the area. Lodge director Gayane Martirosyan teaches keen (and hungry) visitors tips on how to make every thing from tolma to Armenian plov to zhengyalov hats within the comforts of Mirhav’s spacious kitchen and eating room. Lodge Mirhav may also arrange visitors with native households to learn to distill vodka with home-grown mulberries, wild pears, rosehips, and extra.
Make Chanakh and Pokhind at Chalet Gyumri
Gyumri is Armenia’s second-largest metropolis and simply probably the most underrated locations within the area. A metropolis famend for its humor, Gyumri additionally has some uniquely Armenian dishes to indicate off to guests, and at Chalet Gyumri visitors are given the possibility to examine them out. Underneath the steerage of proprietor Karine Tumasyan hungry visitors are given the possibility to make her household recipe for chanakh, a Gyumri consolation meals made in a clay pot. Whereas the chanakh cooks, Tumasyan continues the lesson, displaying visitors yet another household recipe – this time within the type of the dessert pokhind.
Be taught to Make Gata with Legends Guesthouse
Near Yeghegis within the village Artabuynk, Legends Guesthouse is a family-owned enterprise that mixes a masterclass the place guests learn to make one in every of Armenia’s favourite sweets, gata, with a visit to the close by Smbataberd Fortress. Whereas Gata will be discovered throughout the nation (like in Artabuynk), however with completely different regional variations, it is the model from the Higher Azat Valley’s Geghard and Garni that’s most well-known. Right here, guests will learn to make gata in a tonir (a stone oven buried within the floor) with the guesthouse’s proprietor Tamara earlier than taking a brief hike with Vardan and Karen to Smbataberd.