The South Caucasus is a paradise for gourmets with its array of bright, spicy dishes that make their mark throughout the year. If you’re curious about Armenian and Georgian cuisine for an upcoming visit, read on to find out the best dishes to try during the summer.
Traditional Armenian Dishes for the Summer
Armenia, a small, hospitable country in the South Caucasus, has an exciting food culture. In fact, the Armenian national cuisine is a constituent part of the country’s culture and has played a huge role in preserving the country’s ancient traditions. Armenians pass culinary traditions from generation to generation as part of their special heritage.
Thanks to a generous amount of sunlight and fertile lands, Armenian fruit is famous for its aroma and sweetness. The country has a range of seasonal fruits and berries including strawberries, cherries and apricots in the early summer. Peaches, watermelons, melons, figs and grapes fill the markets in the mid to late summer months.
Tan, a popular and refreshing summer drink, is made with matsoni (Armenian yogurt). Some Armenians drink tan year round – it’s that good.
Armenians serve khorovats, a form of local barbecue generally featuring bone-in lamb or pork skewers, at summer picnics. The Khorovats festival occurs in mid-August and features versions of the grilled meat skewers from different regions in Armenia. At Lake Sevan, a favorite Armenian summer destination, people eat fish dishes like trout and whitefish khorovats along the lakefront.
Dolma is yet another tasty popular summer dish in Armenia. Locals prepare dolma from vegetables (eggplant, pepper and tomato) and stuff them with minced meat.
You can visit Armenia and taste authentic Armenian cuisine by contacting a local tour agency and booking a gastronomic or summer tour. These types of tours are a great way to try Armenian food in its home country.
Traditional Georgian Dishes for the Summer
The best thing about Georgian cuisine during the summer may be the vegetables that are added to almost every dish. In the summer months, cooks serve vegetable stews both with and without meat. For example, ajapsandali, a traditional stew typically made with eggplant, is prepared with either potatoes or with meat.
When you visit Georgia in the summer, be sure to try Pkhali, a vegetable pâté seasoned with walnuts, onions and spices. This dish is made with spinach, asparagus and cabbage. You should also try Chakapuli made with local ingredients like lamb, plum and greens.
Eggplant is an important component in Georgian cuisine. Georgians prepare eggplant with nuts as a light snack by wrapping garlic inside a thin, fried eggplant and adding a tasty nut sauce. Locals eat this cold snack with pomegranate and greens.
Armenia isn’t the only country in the South Caucasus with great fruit. Georgian fruits to try during the summer include local cherries, medlars, strawberries, cherry plums and mulberries. In Georgia, August is the best month for fruit like watermelons, melons, peaches, nectarines, plums, apples and grapes.