The best way to experience a country’s culture is by eating way too much of its food, drinking way too much of its booze and often doing both at the same time. That’s how we’ve always done it, and here we are running a travel empire that spans the globe. What should you eat in Yerevan? Well, everything, obviously, but make a point of sampling these bits and bobs.
We’ll start with the booze, although that is somewhat out of character for us (ahem). Cognac is an absolute must when in Armenia (as is a visit to the Ararat Cognac Factory), the sort of brandy that stops shows, starts shows, makes shows and changes shows, a drink that has been enjoyed by rulers, kings, emperors and notorious British drunks since its conception in 1887. So good even the French are willing to acknowledge it.
Tolma is ubiquitous in this part of the world and we aren’t about to start complaining. Essentially minced meat and/or vegetables wrapped up in tender grape leaves, there are plenty of variations on the theme and all are as good as the last, hot or cold.
We’re simple folk here at In Your Pocket. If you’re preparing succulent grilled meat, we’ll be front of the queue with open mouths and yearning stomachs. Khorovats is the king of grilled meat kebabs, a social and festive food meant to be enjoyed in the company of friends and family. We’re more than happy to devour a bucket of the things on our lonesome of course.
Pushkin wasn’t exactly fond of Armenian bread but the great Russian poet wasn’t right all of the time. Lavash is Armenian bread at its most Armenian, thin flatbreads cooked to bubbling point in a relentlessly hot clay oven, served hot or cold and enjoyed all throughout the year. No Armenian meal is complete without a hefty pile of lavash.
We were unsure what to go with for tip number five, but eventually plumped for harissa over manti, ishkan and kyufta, mostly because of its historical importance A thick porridge that is traditionally served at Easter, harissa holds a special place in Armenian culture, as it is remembered for helping the Armenians over Musa Ler (Turkey) defend themselves during the Armenian Genocide.