It's been proven that Armenian cuisine is among the oldest on our planet. Archaeological evidence reveals that 2500 years ago the Armenian people had baked unleavened bread and prepared different types of dishes, such as shashlik for example. Many of these recipes have been preserved unchanged until today.
Certain traditional methods for preparing food, as well as some of the utensils found in Armenian cuisine were borrowed thousands of years ago from Azerbaijani and Georgian tradition.
The fertile valleys and plains of this small country provide plenty of raw materials for the preparation of traditional recipes. Armenian master chefs prepare unbelievable meatballs, meat with fruits and the unique tasting fish from lake Sevan. Kutap, for example is a traditional fish dish, which has been a part of the culinary tradition for nearly 1500 years.
Armenians love spicy and especially salty food. A typical example of this is the favorite appetizer - sujuk, exceptionally spicy due to the large amounts of salt, garlic, paprika and cinnamon in its composition.
At every Armenian kitchen table we find thick soups and dishes with veal and sheep's meat. During springtime they prepare sarma from vine leaves, while the most commonly eaten foods during summer are apples, quinces, eggplants, peppers and tomatoes stuffed with mince, rice and herbs and spices.
No Armenian meal can go without the delicious Armenian bread more commonly known as lavash. It reaches 1.6 ft (0.5 meter) in length and is made from very long and thin pitas which are rolled up like pancakes. In some rural areas they still bake it the way they did 6000 years ago - in ancient clay ovens called tonirs, which have a cylindrical shape and are buried in the ground.
Sweet desserts enjoy particular reverence in Armenia. One of the most beloved is alani - dried peaches stuffed with ground walnuts and sugar. Other popular sweet temptations are pahlava and kata. Besides fresh, many of the fruits are also consumed dried. From grapes they make dobash - a syrup possessing a dark sour cherry color, also having well-expressed healing properties.
The traditional matzoon is one of the most popular fermented milk products in Armenian cuisine. It is made from cow, sheep and buffalo milk. It is boiled initially and then cooled to the necessary temperature.
Matzoon cultured from the previous day is cooled to about 42.8°F (6.5 °C) after 5-6 hours. The result is similar to a thick qatiq or cottage cheese. Matzoon with added chopped garlic is used to prepare spas - a side to any meat dish.
Other traditional Armenian recipes include: bozbash, Armenian meatballs, Armenian lavash, Armenian orange cake.