Nourish and Flourish: Flavors of the Season

Heart of Life


One of the oldest countries in the world, bordering Europe and Asia, this little-known destinatio­n’s geographic location, history, neighbors,and cultural heritage all influence its deep flavors and traditiona­l dishes. Armenian food is a unique and traditiona­l cuisine in the world. It’s rich in flavor and uses techniques dating back thousands of years. Using meats and hundreds of wild-growing grasses and flowers, Armenian tradition utilizes a host of organic ingredient­s and techniques that extend beyond their borders. The unique aromas symbolize unity and a powerful family bond.

You’ll find an abundance of meat dishes on the Armenian table: Dolma, minced meat, rice, herbs, and spices rolled in grape leaves; Manti (or Monta), baked or boiled dumplings served with garlicky yogurt and spiced with red pepper and melted butter; and Khorovats (or barbecue), a kebab with skewers of pork, lamb, beef, or chicken grilled over a wood fire.

Lavash is a traditiona­l bread that’s on every Armenian table and a bread known throughout the world. It represents their national cuisine and originates from ancient Armenia. Traditiona­lly, it is the Armenian men who barbecue, but it is the women who prepare and bake the bread using methods of ancient times. Using flour, water, and salt, formed dough balls are rolled into thin layers, then stretched over an oval cushion. The layers are slapped against the inner walls of the tonir (an inground oven made of brick and fireproof clay that reaches 1,000°C, or 1,832°F), then pulled after 30 to 60 seconds. This preparatio­n was considered a ritual event, which started with the rising of the sun. Fire was made, followed by prayer, conversati­on, and song.

Armenian cooking techniques can be complex. Dishes require stuffing, puree, whipping, and more, all of which takes time. It’s the unificatio­n of family and a labor of love, teaching new generation­s how to use fragrant spices and ancient techniques.


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