Karabakh cuisine, as well as the history of Karabakh, is rooted in antiquity. It is a wonderful combination of all kinds of tastes and aromas inherent only in an atmosphere saturated with sun, warm hearts and smiles of Karabakh people. The cuisine is mostly composed of a variety of dishes that are made from meat and vegetables growing on the hills and valleys of Karabakh. So if you're a gourmet and love to discover something new, Karabakh offers sophisticated in its natural simplicity national dishes. The main secret of the famous Karabakh longevity is the use of pure ecological products, with moderate use of unique mulberry and cornel vodka, which contains large amounts of natural essential life-giving oils.
Zhengyalov hats (a bread pancake with herbs), a very common and eaten in Karabakh all year round, is not found in the cuisine at all other regions of Armenia. Zhengyalov hats - a dish almost ceremonial - the basic meaning of its preparation is to gather family and make a general action - unite again to talk about everything, exchange news and just warm the soul next to loving hearts.The whole ceremony of its preparation is accomplished by older, experienced women who pass personal secrets of baking to their daughters. As if by magic the dough is disclosed thin as paper, flat cake, and then stuffed with a mixture of about 20 different varieties of wild and garden, finely chopped greens with vegetable oil. Baked on a candent flat roasting pan called "sadj", in a couple minutes, "pie" is ready, hot, steaming and appetizing. It is so tasty to eat it scalding hot from the sadj! Red homemade wine completes the picture and stirs up appetite, just manage to bake. Zhengyalov hats is especially popular during religious holidays.
Armenian khorovats - barbecue - another no less popular dish prepared from the pigs, sheep or calf, pre-marinated in a mixture of onion, salt, red or black pepper and then fried on coals. Khorovats usually is served with a salad of eggplant, tomatoes, peppers and greens baked on coals.
Кhash - one of the most traditional dishes, prepared from beef shin by family men who cook it all night and in the morning the saturated flavored broth-khash is ready, served with garlic, vinegar and dried lavash.
Kurkut is another traditional dish with unforgettable wonderful taste. The long process of preparation consists of soaking the grains of wheat, specially crushed, then cooking them with pork, goose or turkey all night.
Dolma, very popular in Artsakh, is a seasonal dish. Here, it is prepared a "summer" type - stuffed eggplant, tomatoes and peppers, cooked in the broth, and "winter" dolma – minced beef wrapped in grape or cabbage leaves. Grape leaves are harvested for future use, either marinated, or simply salted in a glass pot. Dolma is traditionally served with a sauce of yogurt and garlic.
Khashlama is another meat dish where meat, mostly beef or lamb stew with tomatoes, sweet pepper, onions and carrots. Some housewives add prunes for spicy taste, as well as red wine or beer. Karabakh cuisine is also rich in its vegetable dishes and salads. In particular, we cannot refuse to try horse sorrel, mallow or snowdrop bulbs, which are first blanched in boiling water for a few minutes, and then either added to soups and salads, or seasoned with onions and eggs. Such dishes are usually served with yoghurt and nuts. An interesting component of the Karabakh cuisine is a special kind of bread – tonrahats, the flat bread baked in special cylindrical shape clay ovens dug in the ground (tonirs). Its baking is time-consuming ritual process; tonrahats is baked only in Karabakh. Also popular in Artsakh is the other kind of bread, traditional for the entire Armenian - lavash, which usually is used to roll up an Armenian cheese or meat, seasoned with onions, herbs and pepper.
Winemaking. Every Armenian knows that Noah, having reached this holy land, planted a vine in Armenia. That was the beginning of viticulture in Armenia. Archaeological excavations have shown that the Armenians were engaged in winemaking since the beginning of the 10th century BC .Since ancient times, the Armenians were able to produce a good wine, and grape growing techniques have remained virtually unchanged since the time of Urartu. So it is in Artsakh. In the courtyards of the families, involved in winemaking, were installed the winepresses. Exclusively male pressed the grapes. There is a special type of grapes in Arsakh with high sugar content, so it produces more alcohol. There are prevalent grape varieties as Haghtanak, Areni, Kishmish. Tourists in Artsakh can watch in rural areas how is distilled the traditional home-made mulberry vodka, which is famous for its healing properties. Mulberries are stored in barrels for 8-10 days until start to wander, and then the mixture is simmered in a big vat. Steam of the boiling mixture passes through the tube, is cooled by water and in the form of alcohol flows into the barrel.