Travel to Armenia, where to eat, what to try, what to bring
Do other people have such compliments: «What a sweet one — take a cheek and drink tea instead of sugar», «Wah, what child, wrap it up in pita bread and eat»? And the expression “Open table” means sharing joy.
This is such a delicious Armenian love.
The night city greeted us with a sweltering wave. Plus, thirty-five in the shadows, about which Yerevan relatives and friends warned us, were acquiring more and more real outlines.
It will be hot. It is also because in just a few days we will have time to see a lot and visit far away guests.
After all, the inviting menacingly promised to be offended if we did not come.
But the guests — later.
In the meantime.
Neon signs, endless casinos, cars, loud pre-dawn road from the airport with loud music and the sounds of different horns.
Not a suburb of the ancient power of Yerevan, but a fussy gambling Las Vegas!
So what awaits us is Armenia is different, old and new.
Premonitions were justified. In July, it is unusually hot in Armenia. And without water in a melting city, it is simply impossible to survive.
At every step there are stalls with refrigerators in which you can find the whole range of non-alcoholic beverages — from local mineral water and cold coffee and tea to Tan (matsun, whipped with sparkling water).
Heat helps to carry everywhere installed drinking fountains — «pulpulaki.»
Well, how can you not remember Dilijan water, by the way, one of the most delicious in the world! After all, the ancient Dilijan is a famous balneological resort surrounded by protected forests and mountains (located 150 km from Yerevan).
But no offense to the diligans, the water is wonderful throughout Armenia.
So we advance by rushes from the fountainlet to the fountainlet with the risk of grabbing, if not a heatstroke, then a sore throat.
On the streets of the city one can find yellow ones that have not changed in the last 30–40 years. barrels with kvass.
But small and large mugs-barrels have sunk into oblivion along with fountains for their washing.
We tried kvass from a disposable cup — yes.
We will drink water.
Not a single feast is complete without miniature cups filled with a fragrant velvet drink, and the conversation is not glued.
People do not ask here whether you will drink coffee at all — it goes without saying, they are simply wondering what kind of coffee you will drink — “sweet, bitter or normal”.
There were times when the least busy member of the family sat and with enviable patience twisted the handle of a manual coffee grinder. Now in any market, in a store or in a coffee shop, you can buy coffee beans, and you can grind it in huge coffee grinders, or already ground, on weight or in factory packaging.
In Armenia, the choice of natural ground coffee for every taste and any financial opportunity.
But soluble is not in high esteem, it is used mainly in restaurants for making cold coffee drinks.
So literally translates the name of this delicious dish from small long thin slices of lamb, fried in oil and stewed with tomatoes and onions.
And be sure a lot of greens!
Cooking traditional Armenian dishes is not a simple and quick matter. All the more so that people, who are already quite a few, and their own, and most likely someone else who has looked at the light, will probably sit at the table.
And really, you have to really love what you are doing, and, of course, those for whom you are preparing all this, to make three or four hundred pieces of minced meat and vine leaves tolma (we often refer to it as dolma) or to blind at all microscopic manti, or, say, for hours to beat off a special stone hammer fresh meat for kyufta — boiled meatballs the size of an orange from mashed meat in mashed potatoes.
And yet, despite the abundance of dishes from all sections of the cookbook, Armenian cuisine is most often associated with kebabs.
In each national restaurant (no matter where it is located — in Armenia itself or outside its borders) the main dish is barbecue, or Horovac.
I am deeply convinced that there is no tastier Armenian barbecue.
A trip to Tsakhkadzor, a city located 50 kilometers north of Yerevan at an altitude of 1,845 meters above sea level, promised to be interesting. The program includes visiting the monastery Kecharis (his main church, St.
Grigor, built already in 1013) and presenting the international pantomime festival and street theaters.
New impressions and fresh mountain air have done their job — legs demanded rest, and stomachs — work.
We went in search of a pleasant place for lunch. Amazingly cozy restaurant on the mountainside Caro Object from the side of the road was almost hidden by tall trees. There is a small waterfall and separate houses for each company.
Our little travelers were amazed by the rabbits, stinging weed on the territory of the restaurant without hesitation. And adults — the waiters. It was here that we first encountered the fact that there was no menu. “Why the menu?
I will say everything that is, ”the waitress confidently declared. And it said!
About pork, beef, lamb and chicken. About horovats. About vegetables, cheese and greens.
What is Armenian table without cheese and greens ?!
And then she took the order and briskly headed up the hill to serve the visitors, who were located in the upper terraces, at the height of the fifth and sixth floors of the high-rise building. And we were pleasantly surprised.
And pacified by the surrounding landscape in green and blue colors and soft iridescent voice of the duduk, flute of apricot tree.
Dinner was good, but for a change, dessert, we decided to try somewhere else.
And not necessarily authentic. Discovering cafe chains Jazwe in Tsakhkadzor, and later in Yerevan, we tried to be faithful to them: “Black Forest”, “Zaher”, “Prince Regent” — everything was very worthy. Coffee is served in individual jazz on elegant ceramic coasters.
The score, by the way, will also be brought in a cezve, but to a much greater extent than the one with coffee.
Cheap these places can not be called.
Usually our orders were not small, especially since there were about six people at the table, but the waiters did not record anything.
The Tsakhkadzor waiter’s memory turned out to be good, but the Yerevan colleagues left the test less well: they had to repeat the order several times, and sometimes they even refused something.
In one of the countless restaurants of the Hrazdan gorge (who does not know, Yerevan is divided by the river Hrazdan), a new gastronomic discovery awaited me. We went there specifically to try a tandoor choir.
In a round oven, recessed into the ground, skewers with meat and vegetables are installed, the hole is filled with felts — and in 35-40 minutes the fragrant, softest horovat is ready.
He was really good, baked vegetables too, Camac Matsun (thick matsun, from which whey is drained) for me was somewhat sour, but one of the most delicious impressions was ordinary sour cream.
I never thought that I, spoiled by Lithuanian dairy products, would just smear it on bread and eat it.
We heard a lot about Yerevan restaurant The club, but even knowing the exact address and the fact that it is located in the very center, it was difficult to find a popular institution.
Having penetrated the inconspicuous heavy metal door, you understand — it was worth looking for!
Witty and democratic interior and the same menu, uncomplicated, varied and tasty. Yerevan? Yes!
But also European, to match the name. Here you should definitely try lamb leg in vegetables, rich manti in broth and with matsuna sauce, mussels stuffed with rice, raisins and pine nuts. Also do not miss the gazpacho of sweet Armenian tomatoes.
So, put a tick in the travel diary: both food and service in The club at the level.
After all, we are cunning, at first everything looked, within the bounds of decency, the waitress experienced the patience, ate — so everything is exactly, checked!
We go to the lake Sevan, and there the fish-prince is the Sevan trout ishkhan.
The closer to Sevan, the more often men enter the road, in a greeting gesture spreading their hands wide. But hospitality has nothing to do with it. These gestures are probably familiar to fishermen, they say, because I caught such a fish, and you buy it!
If you stop — with a sly wink, they will lead you along the roadside bushes where they supposedly hide the magic prince fish.
In reality, the tale of a goldfish is only a tale. Sad
This ishkhan has not come across the net long ago, because it is on the verge of extinction, and its fishing in Sevan is prohibited.
Therefore, we only slowed down at the coastal restaurant, where we were very happy with the shish kebab made of whitefish.
In addition to understandable fish khorovats and Khashlama (usually it’s lamb stewed with onions, peppers, tomatoes), I was interested in a dish “Fish Gata” unfamiliar to me. Chef Tamara explained that their gata is a fish carcass, cut along the ridge, spread out, rolled in flour and fried.
Well, as one of my familiar Lithuanian chefs said, the main thing is to intrigue, and then we’ll figure it out.
Meanwhile, there were fishermen with a catch of crayfish.
The question immediately asked if we wanted to try crab kebabs. It is made from ground meat of crayfish necks with spicy herbs. I imagined how many crayfish I need for one kebab, and I felt a pity for them, so the Horowitz and the Khashlama completely arranged for us.
And again cheese, greens, Armenian bread matnakash. As a side dish to the choir, there are potato mugs baked on skewers.
And of course — “Wah, what a wine! Not wine — a living soul «!
But about him next time, because there are other «spiritual» drinks in this warm country.
Six years ago, for the first time, I saw wooden barrels on the roof of the Yerevan Brandy Company.
Since then, I have not had a question about how they got there.
The secret was discovered by an amazing person — Rafik Harutyunyan, who made these barrels for the plant for 54 years. It turns out they are sunbathing. port wine. Just «Sunny».
Unlike cognacs, having a rest in the muffled light, port wines are not indifferent to pleasures in a natural solarium.
Despite his age, Uncle Rafik is vigorous, energetic and full of energy: “I have worked with alcohol for so many years that I must have been conspiratorial.”
He is ready to talk about his craft for hours: and that each barrel must pass through its fire and its water, and that the biggest barrels are not barrels at all, but bottles, and how oak breathes. “A cooper can be a carpenter, but a carpenter is not a cooper,” the warpet Rafik is convinced.
Armenians name this ancient word creators, real masters of their craft.
In Uncle Rifik’s barrels, stars are picking up stars Armenian brandy. In the aging shop of the Yerevan Brandy Factory Ararat one can see huge bottles of one and a half thousand liters and rows of barrels in which brandy alcohol rests. Cool peace does not disturb either light or noise.
Only the cautious steps of the visitors are heard with faces noticeably cheering from intoxicating aromas.
In 2001, the masters of cognacs gave one of the barrels living here to Charles Aznavour, and the alley began to bear his name. The heads of foreign countries who visited the plant have their barrels Ararat, and other worthy people.
Here is a barrel of Boris Yeltsin, now of Vladimir Putin and Nikolai Ryzhkov, a little further than Leonid Roshal and Yuri Bashmet. The owner of the barrel can pick it up at any time, but so far no one is in a hurry — after all, the longer the cognac is, the more valuable it is.
But the less the brandy will receive the owner — because the barrels breathe and there is a natural process of drying.
La part des anges — the proportion of angels — so called evaporated part.
In the meantime, we are heading for our earthly share in the tasting of brandy. There we will know how much cognac needs to be poured into the round, expanding downward glass for a short stalk intended for it, so that, without spilling a drop, we lay it on its side and observe the measured rocking of the golden lake between the transparent banks. And only then we will proceed to tasting according to all the rules: see, smell and. No, do not drink, but put, admire and share feelings and impressions about the drink, and only then take a sip.
And better with good toast.
I must say that the French from the province of Cognac zealously guarded this name. But most of the export of the famous drink is directed to Russia, and the newly-minted Armenian brandy would hardly be so popular with us as the good old Armenian cognac. So we «built a redoubt,» and the French had to retreat.
And let the blessed Armenian drink be called brandy only in Armenia and Russia, and let them say that now Armenians drink vodka more often, because good Armenian brandy is rare, but for a guest there will always be a precious bottle for any host.
After all, Armenians and hospitality are inseparable. “Wai, aziz, come here, drink coffee,” — so, tired of the scorching sun, I was invited by the ticket collector Arus from the museum in Sardarapat. When I refused to coffee, she began to treat fruit, and then whispered something in my daughter’s ear.
The girl brought a full package of grapes. I have never eaten such a raisin! Whether this sun has put a sweetness into it, or a good heart Arus.
On our way there were only such people.
And for you!
This short wish for good, pleasure, all the most pleasant cannot be unambiguously translated, it can only be accepted with all your heart with gratitude.
No wonder Armenia is called an open-air museum. Churches and monasteries of the 6th – 9th centuries, Yerevan, which is almost three thousand years old, of amazing beauty Khachkars — carved crosses in stone lace. traces of the distant past at arm’s length.
But not having been in Geghard, you will not understand how time stops and rushes forward.
In the compulsory program museums.
For every taste: the National Art Gallery with the richest collection, the Institute of Ancient Manuscripts Matena-Daran, the Children’s Art Gallery, the Sergei Parajanov Museum, the Aram Khachaturian House Museum.
On Saturday or Sunday morning, be sure to go to the opening day.
There you can see and purchase works of jewelers and artists, wood and stone carvers and other handicraftsmen who have not yet been in museums.
Depending on the season.
Yes, trite, but unusually tasty.
Noah knew what he was doing when he chose Ararat to stop.
No sweeter than Armenian apricots, peaches and grapes, warmed by the hot sun and hardworking hands, there is no fruit.
Fat pita from the tandoor.
He is probably baked in every yard.
Artsakh — a unique matured Armenian drink, very strong. He has many options: mulberry (from mulberries), cornel, grape, apricot.
They can have a different aroma and taste — from gentle to bright, but the aftertaste is the same for everyone — surprisingly soft fruit.
We will not be original. Undoubtedly cognac. To persuade is not necessary, is not it?
In order to avoid bitter disappointment from fakes, it is best to buy it in retail stores or from large distributors.
Unexpectedly low price should alert you.
Dried fruits. Dried apricots, dried peaches, beads from Alani (dried peaches without peel with nut filling), candied apricots, peaches, pears, sweet cherries and cherries with hazelnut or almond kernels, thin sheets of fruit pastila, here called sour pita bread, — well, is it possible to resist this?
Sold even amazing still lifes, laid out of all this abundance.
It can be vases, jewelry boxes, candlesticks, amazing silver jewelry, even key chains or pendants made from dried pomegranate fruits. Pomegranate is revered in Armenia as a symbol of life, abundance, fertility.
Such a talisman is simply necessary in the house.