10 Armenian Desserts that are Simply Irresistible!
As you step into a typical Armenian market, you see rows and stalls of colorful dried fruits and homemade compote jars. Armenia is known for its organic fruits, vegetables, spices, and nuts.
If you’re traveling in the Caucasus region, I would recommend checking out the markets in Armenia and filling your bags with some fresh goodies. Let’s discover some of the best desserts Armenia has to offer.
1. Gata: Sweet Bread
Gata is the most famous Armenian pastry. It is normally found outside local Armenian churches and it’s a popular Armenian Easter treat. There are different variations of this dessert, which is made with yeast dough that is stuffed with butter and flour or walnuts and can even be prepared with yogurt.
Gata can be baked in different shapes and sizes, such as a big circle or medium-sized rectangle. It is commonly eaten with tea or coffee, especially halfway through Lent, but it is still enjoyed all year round.
2. Sweet Sujuk
Sweet sujuk, also known as Armenian “snickers”, is one of the famous souvenirs from Armenia. It also has a unique shape and color.
Sweet Sujuk is made with a string of walnuts, set like a marble necklace, which is then dipped into an apricot or grape syrup, called doshab, and then hung somewhere to air dry. As it is rich in flavor, it is cut into small pieces once it is ready to be consumed.
It’s a rich and sweet dessert and a healthier option than “snickers”!
3. Chir: Dried Fruits
Dried fruits are a common staple in Armenia. In ancient times when there were no fridges around, Armenians would pick and prepare their fruits seasonally. In preparation for winter, fruits would be gathered from all across the country and then sweetened under the sun in anticipation of the dark days in winter.
The most popular dried fruits in Armenia are apricots, persimmon, watermelon, plums, and apples. The good thing about this treat is that it is not perishable and can be eaten throughout the year.
4. Ponchik: Armenian Donut
Ponchik is an Armenian donut with various fillings usually powdered with sugar. Traditional ponchik is made in a similar way to puffy donuts with melted chocolate and vanilla cream fillings.
There are particular cafes in Armenia, called Ponchikanoc, where these are primarily served with hot chocolate. A good ponchik will burst with flavor in its first bite!
5. T’tu Lavash: Sour Fruit Rollups
Armenian sour fruit rollups will leave a tang on your taste buds. These rollups are famous because of the unique sourness of Armenian plums, which are flattened and sun-dried to create a roll.
It is often a red or dark cherry color, with the darker color indicating a more sour flavor. It’s a chewy treat that you can try locally that is especially popular with young children.
Compote is a traditional drink that is found throughout the Caucuses and Eastern Europe, with peach, cherry, and apricot being the most common found in Armenia. It is made by cooking the fruit in a large volume of water with sugar, and is served with pieces of fruit inside big glass jars.
It’s a sweet refreshing drink that is usually consumed on hot days and is found on most tables serving guests.
7. Mrchnabuyn: Anthill
Anthill is another popular Armenian pastry. It’s called an anthill because it is literally shaped like one. To make it, the dough must be grated and mixed with cream in order to stick the shreds together. These shreds are then shaped in a small coffee cup mold.
It’s a delicious crunchy pastry for when you want something different.
8. Ghapama: Traditional Armenian Pumpkin Dish
Ghapama is a special Armenian dish. It’s usually served in autumn during pumpkin season and it’s known as an immunity booster and a sweet tasty dish full of dried fruits. There is also a famous song about ghapama, which says that this dish will be eaten during family gatherings and with a big festive spirit.
If you try ghapama, you’ll fall in in love and make it yourself. It is made with a round pumpkin filled with rice, raisin, dried plums and apricots, walnuts, almonds, honey, and cinnamon all cooked together in the oven. The sweet and flavorful aroma of ghapama fills the house and sparks the appetite.
9. Traditional Mint and Thyme Tea
Mint and thyme tea is one of the famous teas in Armenia. It is known for its healing properties, treating stomach aches, common colds etc. Dried mint and thyme is brewed in a teapot for 5-10 minutes and is served with honey or the famous Armenian walnut jam. It’s great for when you want to calm your nerves or you are low on energy.
10. Popoki Murhaba: Green Walnut Jam
One of Armenia’s most popular preserved fruits is walnut jam, or popoki murhaba, as it is known to Armenians.
Baby walnuts are picked when they are green. Then the walnuts are preserved in a sweet syrup made of water, sugar, and lemon juice until they are softened. They are then ready to be served with hot black tea.