If you’re not Armenian, and you happen to like food, you need to get yourself invited to an Armenian meal. At a recent Armenian dinner I was lucky enough to attend, my husband commented to our host that there was far more food than we’d ever be able to eat.
“That’s the Armenian way,” he replied. “When you have 10 people over for dinner, you cook for 30.”
It shouldn’t be too hard to befriend an Armenian no matter where you are. While there are only three million citizens in Armenia itself, there are as many as eight million Armenians elsewhere around the globe. In fact, according to Armenia’s Ministry of the Diaspora, there are Armenian communities in India, China, Singapore, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Cyprus, Greece, Hungary, Macedonia, the Czech Republic, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Austria, Belgium, Germany, Denmark, Ireland, Spain, Italy, Malta, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, Portugal, France, Egypt, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, Turkey, Israel, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan, the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Syria, Belarus, Turmenistan, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Russia, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Georgia, Abkhazia, and, of course, the United States, Canada and Australia.
What’s the draw, other than a huge spread of food? Well, you might get a real Armenian treat, such as pakhlava or khorovats, Armenian barbecue. Khorovats starts out looking like the fiery blaze pictured above (with eggplants, tomatoes and peppers roasting on skewers) and ends up looking like this, giving it an intense wood-smoke flavour.
You might also get dolma, grape leaves rolled and stuffed with rice and/or meat (also common in Turkey and Greece).
The best dolma is with fresh grape leaves, right off the vine. These grape vines are for the leaves, not the fruit:
Or, if you’re in Sydney, you could just come out to the Armenian Festival at Darling Harbour.