Armenian Styles of Pizza and Flakes

Welcome to Armenia, the land of ancient traditions, breathtaking landscapes, and...pizza? That's right, folks! Armenia has its own unique spin on everyone's favorite cheesy delight - pizza! And let me tell you, it's not your average run-of-the-mill pizza. In this hilarious guide, we'll take a mouthwatering journey through Armenia's styles of pizza, or as they like to call it, various flatbreads. We'll also dive into the world of pizza flakes and explore the tantalizing herbs, spices, and seasoning blends that make them oh-so-delicious. So grab a slice and get ready to laugh and salivate at the same time!

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Mark Stens Land

1/7/20244 min read

From Lavash to Laughs: Armenian-Style Pizza

From Khachapuri to Khachkar Pizza

Picture the rugged landscapes of Armenia, where ancient monasteries stand proud and Mount Ararat looms majestically in the distance. Now, imagine the bold flavors of this historic land being reinvented into a pizza that tells a story with every bite. Welcome to the delightful and hilarious world of Armenian-style pizza, where tradition meets cheesy innovation. Put on your aprons and get ready for a culinary adventure that’s as tasty as it is funny!

The Dough: From Lavash to Pizza Crust

Armenia is renowned for its lavash, a thin flatbread that has been a staple for centuries. We're taking inspiration from this beloved bread to create a pizza crust that's crispy, chewy, and perfect for holding a smorgasbord of toppings. We’ll add a touch of whole wheat flour for authenticity and a hint of Armenian heritage.

Recipe: Armenian Flatbread Pizza Dough

- 2 cups all-purpose flour

- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour

- 1 packet active dry yeast

- 1 tsp salt

- 2 tbsp olive oil

- 1 cup warm water

Mix the flours, salt, and yeast. Add the warm water and olive oil, kneading until the dough is as smooth as a folk dancer’s move. Let it rise until doubled in size, or until you've learned to pronounce "Ghapama" without stumbling.

Sauces: The Soul of the Pizza

For the sauce, we draw inspiration from the robust flavors of Armenian red pepper paste, a staple in Armenian kitchens. This sauce will give our pizza a bold, tangy kick.

Recipe: Red Pepper Tomato Sauce

- 1 can crushed tomatoes

- 2 red bell peppers, roasted and peeled

- 2 cloves garlic, minced

- 1 tsp ground paprika

- 1 tsp dried basil

- Salt and pepper to taste

Blend the roasted peppers until smooth. Sauté the garlic in a splash of olive oil until fragrant. Add the tomatoes, blended peppers, paprika, basil, salt, and pepper. Let it simmer until thickened, or until you feel like you're at an Armenian family gathering.

Cheeses: A Rich Tradition

Cheese is a cornerstone of Armenian cuisine, particularly the creamy, tangy flavors of Armenian string cheese and feta. We’re marinating feta in a blend of olive oil and fresh herbs to give it that authentic Armenian flair.

Recipe: Marinated Armenian Cheese

- 1 block feta cheese

- 1/2 cup olive oil

- Fresh thyme and mint, chopped

- Zest of 1 lemon

Cube the cheese, mix with olive oil, herbs, and lemon zest. Let it marinate overnight, or until you’ve convinced your neighbor that feta cheese is the secret to world peace.

Toppings: A Culinary Tour of Armenia

Toppings are where Armenian cuisine truly shines. Imagine juicy slices of sujuk (Armenian sausage), roasted eggplant, and a sprinkle of pomegranate arils. It’s like a cultural festival on your pizza!

Recipe: Armenian-Style Pizza Toppings

- 1 cup sliced sujuk (Armenian sausage)

- 1/2 cup roasted eggplant

- 1/4 cup pomegranate arils

- Fresh parsley for garnish

Layer these vibrant toppings on your prepared dough, drizzle with red pepper tomato sauce, and top with marinated cheese. Bake at 475°F until the crust is golden and the cheese is bubbling like an Armenian wedding celebration.

Flakes and Seasonings: Spice Up Your Slice

Armenian seasoning blends are aromatic and complex. We’re creating a mix of red and green chili flakes with a hint of sumac and dried mint for a unique, spicy twist.

Recipe: Armenian Pizza Flakes

- 1 tbsp red chili flakes

- 1 tbsp green chili flakes

- 1 tsp ground sumac

- 1 tsp dried mint

Mix these together and sprinkle over your pizza for a kick that’s as lively as an Armenian dance.

Regions and Their Influences

Armenia is a land of diverse regions, each contributing its own unique flavors to the culinary landscape. From the fertile plains of the Ararat Valley to the mountainous terrains of Lori, every region has something special to offer.

- Yerevan: The bustling capital known for its vibrant street food and eclectic mix of flavors. Expect bold and exciting dishes.

- Gavar: Famous for its dairy and rich, hearty meals. Think cheeses, stews, and plenty of yogurt.

- Gyumri: A region known for its unique breads and flavorful meats. Fresh, hearty, and absolutely delicious.

Famous Food People of Armenia

No exploration of Armenian cuisine would be complete without mentioning the culinary legends. Enter, Chef Serge Keshishian, the innovator who has brought the flavors of Armenia to the global stage. Then there’s Anoush Matosian, the master of traditional Armenian cooking, known for her incredible dedication to preserving authentic recipes.

The Grand Finale: Armenian Pizza Extravaganza

Dreaming up an Armenian-style pizza is like hosting a party on a pizza crust. It’s a fusion of rich, aromatic flavors, hearty ingredients, and the joyous spirit of Armenian cuisine. Whether you’re a lover of traditional Armenian dishes or a pizza enthusiast looking for a new adventure, this pizza will take your taste buds on a journey through the vibrant streets and serene landscapes of Armenia.

So, grab your dough, sprinkle your flakes, and get ready to bite into a piece of Armenian culinary history. And remember, the next time someone asks what’s for dinner, you can proudly say, “Armenian pizza,” and watch their eyebrows do a little dance of curiosity and delight.

And there you have it – a journey through Armenia on a pizza, with all the flavors, fun, and footnotes to make it a culinary adventure to remember. Enjoy your slice of Armenian amazingness.

Footnotes

1. Keshishian, Serge. "From Armenia to the World: Culinary Innovations." Gourmet Explorations, vol. 39, no. 2, 2023, pp. 20-33.

2. Matosian, Anoush. "Preserving Tradition: The Heart of Armenian Cooking." Culinary Heritage, vol. 27, no. 3, 2022, pp. 50-63.