The town of Dilijan in northern Armenia boasts healthy fresh air, serenity, breathtaking views, organically grown fruits and vegetables, homemade delicacies and the strongest vodka. As such, it fascinated Varda Avetisyan, who moved to Dilijan from the United States to find tranquility amidst a stormy stage in her life. Thanks to a creative culinary mind, Varda founded three restaurants—Kchuch, Tava, and Losh—which explore centuries-old recipes and culinary inventions with diverse ingredients.
One of their principles is the mantra, “from forest to table,” which locals have practiced for centuries by harvesting their daily and even seasonal food from the soil they till. The harvested products are dried, pickled, and preserved for the harsh winters or used to make their own home-distilled aqua vitae—pure and natural, yet stiff and strong.
Varda offers visitors the opportunity to experience local foodways through a master class in bruschetta and mixology. She will demonstrate how to combine oven-roasted bruschetta with vegetables, fresh local herbs, and garlic. Under the bartender’s expert guidance, the mixology experience teaches visitors about the local fruit vodka and herb syrup varieties and the history behind them. To conclude, Varda describes some of the dessert-related practices in the Tavush region, while treating visitors to dried fruits, soaked in homemade brandy.
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