Armenia has remained relatively under the radar until only recently. Adventurous world travellers are finally catching on, heading over to this fascinating nation - spanning both Asia and Europe - for a holiday brimming with dramatic mountain peaks, fascinating caves, and UNESCO-listed monasteries.
The Caucasus nation also happens to be one of the world’s fastest emerging travel destinations because of its ancient cuisine, boasting regional dishes packed with years of tradition and unique flavour.
From chickpea dumplings to hearty flatbreads, here are the dishes you need to try during your holiday in Armenia:
Topik - chickpea dumplings
If you fancy chickpeas, iron-rich legumes in hummus, curries, and more, you might like to try topik during your Armenian adventure. These delicious boiled dumplings are made up of cooked chickpeas, tahini, potatoes, salt, and sugar, as well as varying fillings including spices, blackcurrants, onions, and nuts.
Basturma - dried meat
If you find yourself snacking on jerky, wait till you try Armenian basturma. This air-dried cured beef is given a touch of tang with turmeric, fenugreek, allspice, and cumin. You can enjoy it in a tasty baguette, or simply on its own.
Ghapama - stuffed squash
If you happen to be visiting Armenia during December, you’re in luck. The country, which is bordered by Georgia and Turkey, certainly does festive dishes well. Ghapama is one fine example. This comforting yet healthy vegetarian meal is the perfect dish for winter, featuring a baked butternut squash filled with dried apples, prunes, apricots, plums and rice.
Lavash - traditional flatbread
Like in many other countries, bread is a staple in Armenia. We can see why… Armenian bread, lavash, is simply delicious. And versatile too. It’s the perfect accompaniment to soaking up a saucy dish at dinner or to simply wake up with for breakfast.
The traditional flatbread is made up of only wheat flour and water, but it is rolled into thin layers and baked against a tonir - an Armenian ground-based oven - for just one minute.
Okay, so this one might not technically be a “dish”, but as Armenia is one of the longest-producing wine nations, we couldn’t resist. You’ve simply got to try a glass of local red during your holiday. We would begin with a Voskehat wine, often regarded as Armenia’s “queen” of the grapes. It’s a medium-bodied dry white from the Aragatsotn Province and is one of the nation’s most popular wines.
On an Armenian escorted tour with Newmarket Holidays, you can visit the UNESCO-listed Haghpat Monastery, see the capital city of Yerevan, and taste traditional wine, chickpea dumplings, and more.