Armenian cuisine includes the foods and
cooking techniques of the Armenian people and the Armenian diaspora. 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 raised in areas populated by Armenians.
Regional influences include the Mediterranean, the Caucasus, the Middle
East, Eastern Europe, and to a certain extent also influences from the
Balkans. Armenian cuisine and traditions in turn have influenced the
culinary traditions of nearby countries and cities such as Aleppo. The
preparation of meat, fish, and vegetable dishes in an Armenian kitchen
requires stuffing, frothing, and pureeing. Lamb, eggplant, yoghurt, and
bread (lavash) are basic features of Armenian cuisine. Armenians use
cracked wheat (burghul) in preference to the maize and rice popular
among its Caucasian neighbors (Georgia and Azerbaijan).
Armenian foods include small appetizers called mezze, grain and herb
salads, phyllo pastries called boeregs, grilled meats and skewers, a
large variety of soups, stews, flat breads such as lavash, and a thin
crust pizza variant called lahmajoun.
The Armenian cuisine is a poem, every line of which has a peculiar and
unique scent. It includes a number of big and small secrets.
Armenian cuisine consists of numerous
kinds of vegetables and fruit, different sorts of herbs, cheese, meat
and fish, wine and pastries. Cheese, herbs and lavash: any ceremonial
dinner lovers, even those Armenians who live very far from their native
country, never forget about their bread lavash. Lavash is a very thin,
easily rolled layer of dough approximately one meter high, which is
baked on a hot wall of a stove-tondir (stove dugged in the ground),
which is burned and heated by a dry vine bough.
After having traveled in the Caucasus,
Alexander Dumas offered the French to taste khorovats (pieces of meat
piled on a skewer and grilled on a burned charcoal without fire) with
lavash, which he particularly liked.
Basturma (long pieces of cured meat, covered with crust of bitter
seasoning) and sujukh (flat meat sausages, spiced by various seasoning)
are also very popular in Armenia.
The biscuit gata (a flat cake of ferment or flaky dough with a filling
of butter, sugar and flour) is very popular, too.
Wines as well as cheese occupy a particular page in culinary art. Roots
of viticulture and winemaking in Armenia go back to the oldest times. It
is confirmed by the cuneiform inscriptions in Urartu (an ancient state
populated by Armenians).
Wine cellars in Armenian houses were filled with aroma. There stood wide
clay jars full of wine, grapes were dried for winter (which is popular
in Armenia even nowadays), winter sorts of grapes, peaches, quinces and
pears were piled on a thread and hung up. Nowadays numerous kinds of
wine are produced in Armenia: "Malaga", "Kagor," pomegranate, Muscat,
etc. Matchar (new grape wine) is very popular in Armenia. Combination of
brightly shining sun of Ararat valley, fertile soil and pure water give
the opportunity to create real works of art when producing wine and
It is known that drinking moderate
amounts of wine may have number of health benefits. Wines come from
various cultures and traditions. While, according to the Bible, the wine
making tradition was started in Armenia by Noah, the Armenian wines are
not as known as the tradition of Noah.
There are lots of legends about the origin of wine, and practically each
winemaking region has its own beautiful story.
According to one of the most realistic stories in the Bible, Noah came
down from the top of Ararat mountain and planted the first grape vine.
Doing this he set the precedence for the viticulture.
The winemaking chronicle in Armenia is almost as old as the viticulture
in the country.
According to the evidence of the ancient Greek historians, high quality
wines were already exported from Armenia about two thousand years ago.
One of the leaders of Wine producing enterprises in Armenia is Ijevan
Wine Factor, which produces more than ten names of ordinary, high
quality and collectable wines.
Wine making traditions of ancient times, wine bottling and wine
conserving are "religiously" kept in this place.
Technologies and high mountainous grape types have contributed to Ijevan
Winery production of excellent wines with delicate taste and special
sunny aroma of Armenian wines.
From 1953 until 1991 YBC was the only plant that produced Armenian
brandy. The remaining plants of Armenia were occupied solely by
distillation. YBC bottled ordinary (three -, four- and five-year)
brandy's as well as the famous labelled brands ("Dvin", "Yerevan", "Nairi",
"Vaspurakan", "Ararat" and "Akhtamar"). YBC's monopoly to bottle and
export brandy was liquidated in 1991. For more than 20 years (from 1948
through 1973) the chief technologist of YBC was Markar Setrakyan (Hero
of Socialist Labor). YBC was privatized in 1998 and was sold to the
international group "Pernod Ricard". The sum of the transaction was
30 million US dollars. The Armenian government was heavily criticized by
the general public for the sale. One of YBC's oak barrel depositories
In April 1999, on the initiative of YBC a new standard was introduced in
the Republic of Armenia named "Armenian cognac", which rigidly regulates
the production of this beverage. YBC remains the uncontested leader on
the volume of production and the export of Armenian brandy. YBC
possesses approximately 60% of the total reserve of brandy in Armenia.
Several YBC brands are inaccessible to the retail network and can only
be obtained by a special order: "Erebuni" - 25 years, "Kilikia" - 30
years, "Sparapet" - 40 years and "Noah's Ark" - 70 years of endurance.
Currently YBC brandy is supplied to 25 countries. 47 countries have
registered the trade marks of YBC. For four years in a row the brand
"Ararat" was favored in Russia as "Good of the year".