ETHNOGASTRONOMY. THE SENSORY MASH-UP
Food is such an integral part of the tourist experience that we often overlook its significance. For some tourists, food is considered a part of the passive experience, but with the growing popularity of food and wine magazines, cooking shows, and entire television networks dedicated to food and the places that it comes from, there is a growing niche of “food tourism” – people who travel primarily to taste, cook, and learn about different cuisines.
Because we believe that to ‘eat, drink and be merry’ is such a big part of a true experience in Armenia, our journeys include unmatched meal service.
Our taste trails incorporate several elements of every region’s cuisine, agriculture, and culinary heritage to give visitors an informative, interactive and appetizing experience. A successful taste trail offers a variety of products that are individually enticing, but also work well within the cohesive framework of the taste trail as a whole. Another important feature of the taste trail is that it is interactive, incorporating elements such as cooking classes, giving visitors the feeling of not simply tasting the local cuisine, but experiencing it.
- Arrival in Yerevan, the capital of Armenia and one of the world's oldest continuously inhabited cities. Transfer from Zvartnots International Airport, accompanied by Blackstone Travel representative; hotel accommodation.
- Welcoming lunch with traditional foods and dishes at an authentic Armenian restaurant.
- Special Degustation Tour at the ArArAt Yerevan Brandy Company. It is almost as renowned a symbol of the Armenian capital as Mount Ararat. Immense reserves of precious brandy spirits put into barrels as far back as in the 19th century are stored in its cellars.
- Visit to the Armenian Genocide memorial complex, Armenia’s official memorial dedicated to the victims of the Armenian Genocide, the extermination of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire and the surrounding regions during 1915-1923.
- An evening stroll through Yerevan's signature spots, including Cafesjian Center for the Arts (Cascade complex), Theatre Square, Northern Avenue and the Republic Square.
THE LAVASH AND KHOROVATS DAY
- Garni, the 1st century B.C. pagan temple dedicated to Mihr, the Sun God in the Zoroastrian-influenced Armenian mythology. The temple appears to be the only surviving monument of Hellenistic architecture in the CIS region.
- Dare yourself to bake Lavash, the traditional armenian flatbread at a special lavash making ceremony. It is worth mentioning that Lavash, its preparation, meaning and appearance as an expression of culture in Armenia was included in the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
- Al Fresco lunching at a farmhouse.
- Geghard, the 4th century medieval monastery, partially carved out of the adjacent mountain, surrounded by cliffs, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Try Gatah, famouse Armenian pastry, sold right at the monastery walls.
CRADLE OF WINEMAKING
- The road will take us to Khor Virap. This 7th century monastery rests atop a little hill in an otherwise very flat Ararat Valley. Khor Virap is one of the most popular destinations in Armenia for a number of reasons, primarily because St. Gregory the Illuminator was imprisoned for 13 years in its underground dungeon before curing King Trdat III of a disease. This caused the conversion of the king and Armenia into the first officially Christian nation in the world in the year 301.
- Next stop is Areni village, best known for its wine production and Copper age excavations. In January 2011 archaeologists announced the discovery of the earliest known winery, the Areni-1 winery, seven months after the world’s oldest leather shoe, the Areni-1 shoe, was discovered in the same cave.
- Wine Tasting at Areni Winery.
- Lunch at Vardges's Cave Restaurant, one of must-visit spots.
- Visit Noravank, the 13th century Armenian monastery, sometimes called Noravank at Amaghu, with Amaghu being the name of a small and nowadays abandoned village above the canyon.
- Heading to Lake Sevan, one of the largest freshwater high-altitude lakes in the world. The 9th century monastic complex located on the peninsula consists of two rough-hewn churches, Surb Arakelots ("Holy Apostles") and Surb Astvatsatsin ("Holy Mother of God").
- Al Fresco seafood lunching at the Lake Sevan.
- The road will take us to Dilijan, Armenia's green paradise. The Sharambeyan street in the city center has been preserved and maintained as an “old town,” completed with craftsman’s workshops, carpet weaving center, a gallery and a museum.
- Wine degustation at the Ijevan Winery.
THE MEDIEVAL LEGENDS
- The Legend: According to a legend, three sisters lived in Ashtarak, all of whom fell in love with the same man, prince Sargis. The elder two sisters decided to commit suicide in favor of the youngest one. One wearing an apricot-orange dress and the other wearing a red dress, they threw themselves into the gorge. When the youngest sister found out, she put on a white dress and also threw herself into the gorge. Sargis then became a hermit and three small churches appeared at the edge of the gorge, named after the sisters’ dress colors. While visiting Ashtarak, we’ll visit the 7th century church often referred to as “Reddish” because of the color of its dome.
- Visit to Amberd, a “fortress in the clouds”. This 7th-century fortress sits atop on the slopes of Mount Aragats at 7,500 ft above sea level.
- Lunch in a cozy atmosphere at a historic house-turned-restaurant.
- 13th century Armenian monastic complex Saghmosavank is situated atop the precipitous gorge carved by the Kasagh river. The walls of the monastery have witnessed multitude barbarian invasions, including Tamerlane’s army.
THE TOLMA DAY
- A special visit to the spiritual center of Armenia, The Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin. Along with several important early medieval churches located nearby, the Etchmiadzin cathedral was listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The locus of Etchmiadzin is considered “a sanctified soil” in a way similar to Temple Mount (for Jews) and Harmandir Sahib (for Sikhs).
- This 7th century magnificent cathedral remained uncovered until the 20th century. Zvartnots was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2000.
- Lunch and Tolma making ceremony at Sardarapat. The Annual Tolma Festival takes place right there in Sardarapat, promoting traditional Armenian cuisine, considered to be one of the non-material cultural assets of Armenians.
YEREVAN TODAY. THE LANDMARKS
- The Yerevan day starts with a visit to Matenadaran, an internationally famous repository of ancient manuscripts, a research institute and a museum.
- Contemporary Armenian Cuisine Lunch.
- Arts and Crafts shopping. Free Time.
- Farewell Dinner.
- Transfer to the Zvartnots International Airport.
Start your perfect journey!