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Food, Cognac & DrinksArmenian cuisine is a combination of different tastes and aromas. Intimately related to eastern and Mediterranean culinary art, various spices, vegetables, fish, and fruits combine to present unique dishes.
The cuisine reflects the history and geography where Armenians have lived as well as incorporating outside influences. The cuisine also reflects the traditional crops and animals grown and raised in areas populated by Armenians.
The preparation of meat, fish, and vegetable dishes in an Armenian kitchen requires stuffing, frothing, and puréeing. Lamb, eggplant, and bread (lavash) are basic features of Armenian cuisine. Armenians use cracked wheat (bulgur) in preference to the maize and rice popular among their Caucasian neighbors.
Certain qualities may generally be taken to characterize Armenian cuisine:
- The flavor of the food relies on the quality and freshness of the ingredients rather than on excessive use of spices.
- Fresh herbs are used extensively, both in the food and as accompaniments. Dried herbs are used in the winter, when fresh herbs are not available.
- Wheat is the primary grain and is found in a variety of forms, such as: whole wheat, shelled wheat, bulgur (parboiled cracked wheat), semolina, farina, and flour. Historically, rice was used mostly in the cities (especially in areas with a large Turkish population) and in certain rice-growing areas (e.g., Marash and the region around Yerevan).
- Legumes are used liberally, especially chick peas, lentils, white beans, and kidney beans.
- Nuts are used both for texture and to add nutrition to Lenten dishes. Of primary usage are walnuts, almonds, pine nuts, but also hazelnuts, pistachios (in Cilicia), and nuts from regional trees.
- Fresh and dried fruit are used both as main ingredients and as sour agents. As main ingredients, the following fruit are used: apricots (fresh and dried), quince, melons, and others. As sour agents, the following fruits are used: sumac berries (in dried, powdered form), sour grapes, plums (either sour or dried), pomegranate, apricots, cherries (especially sour cherries), and lemons.
Most Popular Armenian Dishes Are:
Mante – Grilled dumpling made either of minced lamb or beef, served with garlic sprinkles and yogurt.
Dolma - Lentils, tomato, Zucchini, garlic, eggplant, parsley, mint, red pepper, onions, coriander and rice are wrapped in grape leaves for winter and cabbage leaves for summer.
Gata - A sweet bread made of flour, nuts, and baking soda as main ingredients
Baklava - A baked dough made with walnut, cinnamon, honey, cardamom, butter, and eggs.
Choereg – A must-have for an Easter party - Finely prepared sweet bread from white flour, baking soda, eggs, dry yeast and vanilla with sprinkled sesame seeds when served
Armenian Lula Kebab - Grilled lamb’s shoulder or breast marinated with egg, paprika, tomato paste, mint leaves, black pepper and onions
Cheese Borek - A spicy pastry made from the dough of spinach and beef along with layers of cheese.
Chi Kofte - A beef kofta preparation made of tomato paste, paprika, cumin powder, chili pepper, sea salt, and bulgur.
Sini Kofte – Kofte baked in the oven with either turkey or lamb meat as the prime ingredient.
Harissa – An Easter porridge - A porridge prepared with chicken, lamb or beef along with wheat grits.
Khash - A soup consisting of sheep or cow’s feet with garlic, vinegar, salt and lemon juice.
Basturma - A tasty dish using dried and seasoned beef with spices like garlic, black pepper, cumin, and paprika
Armenian Rice Pilaf - Rice and vermicelli tossed and cooked in butter and chicken broth.
Armenian Eech - Cooked bulgur with tomato paste, vegetables, and paprika, tossed in parsley.
Stuffed Peppers - Peppers, carrots and rice wrapped in cabbage rolls, sometimes along with meat, and stuffed inside peppers, eaten while hot along with fresh cream
Khorovats - A traditional barbecue item using meat with or without bones
Lahmacun - A pizza-like preparation using flour tortilla as the base, while a mixture containing meat, cumin, parsley, and salt is used as the upper layer
Armenia is also famous for its wine and brandy, in particular, Armenian cognac.
Traditional restaurants mostly always offer quality Armenian food...