Dolma: The Soul Of Armenian Cuisine
Dolma is considered the most cherished Armenian dish and is a must if you ever find yourself in Armenia. When the Dolma’s are arranged on a plate, with the tasty aroma spreading in the room – no one can resist it!
Dolma comes in two varieties: spiced meat and rice wrapped in fresh young grape leaves (in the ancient Urartian language, the word “doli” meant “a grape leaf”), and the vegetarian ‘Summer Dolma’, which is wrapped with cabbage leaves. Another popular variation is to hollow out and stuff tomatoes, zucchini squash, eggplants, bell, peppers, onions, apples and quince with spicy meat and rice, and cook over a slow oven with plums.
What makes Dolma so special is the filling and its special ingredients, such as mutton fat, onion, rice, salt, pepper, and greens like parsley, oregano, mint, and coriander to name a few. The meat is not pre-cooked before it is wrapped in the leaves, so during the preparation process, the juice of the meat stays inside each grape leaf package giving the meal a deep flavor. The grape leaves Dolma always comes with a special sauce made from a local yogurt called ‘matsun’ and with grated fresh garlic, and sometimes with the ground cinnamon.
While you are touring in Armenia, you can take advantage of some of the very traditional food festivals going on in the country – The Armenian Dolma Festival. The festival is a chance to taste sample bites of a variety of Armenian traditional Dolmas.
To learn more about Armenia’s food & drink, please visit our ARMENIAN CUISINE page