Armenia is famous not only for its nature, fresh mountain air, delicious wines and Armenian brandy, but also its cheeses. To date, more than 30 different types of cheeses are known in Armenia.
Cheese making in the Armenian Highlands dates back to the ancient state of Urartu. The cheese is an integral part of the Armenian table. In Armenia, lunch begins and ends with cheese. Cheese with bread, vegetables or fresh herbs is the most favorite Armenian snack. Breakfast without cheese is not considered breakfast, lunch is not lunch. Everyone at the table has their favorite variety of Armenian cheese. And this tradition is also justified by the fact that cheese restores not only the physical strength of a person, but also enriches the intestines with lactic acid microflora, helps digestion of heavy and plentiful food.
Armenians not only love cheese, but also make it very well. Armenian cheese is made on the basis of local, unique starter cultures, which makes it possible to obtain cheese with a unique taste and aroma. Cheeses with the addition of aromatic herbs (thyme, cumin, wild garlic, oregano and others), as well as smoked cheeses, and cheeses ripening in jugs are especially valued.
Consider the most common Armenian cheeses:
Chanakh cheese is made from both cow's and sheep's milk. Chanakh is stored in special pots, in brine. For the manufacture of brine, dry white wine and natural honey is used. Chanakh is sharp, hard cheese, and it does not crumble. The color of this cheese is white and sometimes comes in light yellow.
Lori cheese is stored and kept for maturation in a polymer film, and it is also transported to stores for sale in it. Lori ripens up to 45 days. Lori has holes of various sizes, and softer texture than other types.
Chechil cheese, invented by shepherds, is obtained from rennet, and it doesn't look like any other cheese. Stretched out like threads and braided. Chechil is stored in brine, and contains many healthy substances.
The Yeghegnadzor, aged in a clay pots, is a crumbly cheese, with fragrant spices and herbs.
Motal cheese - stands alone. This is not a simple cheese. Motal is listed in the “Ark of Taste” catalog "Slow Food" along with disappeared or endangered foods. According to international experts, along with Roquefort and Parmesan, it is among the highest quality cheeses.
This is a goat cheese, made in pots and sealed with wax. This method is at least 5,000 years old. Motal ripens up to 4 months, and produced in small quantities. The recipe was considered lost for a long time, until researchers accidentally stumbled upon shepherds in one of the mountainous, isolated areas in Armenia. Those, not knowing anything, calmly prepared it for the household. This is a unique cheese and its the production is quite laborious.
Roquefort from sheep's milk is produced only in Armenia. This is the most spicy type of cheese and it has a pungent taste and smell. Easily digestible, this cheese improves digestion.
Kanach, aka Mklatspanir - its properties are close to Roquefort. They are made in clay pots or wineskins. It has a pleasant spicy taste. And just like Roquefort, Kanach has original anti-inflammatory properties.
To some, the Armenian cheeses may seem very salty, unremarkable and ordinary. Or vice versa, to some they may seem noble and too refined. In any case, our Armenian cheeses will not leave you indifferent!
To learn more about Armenia's food & drink, please visit our ARMENIAN CUISINE page