COVID-19 Travel Update: Learn More

Cook traditional Gyumri dishes at Chalet Gyumri

Cook traditional Gyumri dishes at Chalet Gyumri image

Chanakh is layered and cooked in small clay pots. (Photo by Areg Vardanyan, My Armenia Program)

Traveling with your tastebuds through national cuisines is one of the best and most entertaining ways to connect with local cultures. In Gyumri, for example, you’ll find many traditional recipes, which generations of Armenians have shared, going back as far as anyone can remember. Karine Tumasyan at Chalet Gyumri is an important part of this lineage, as she not only prepares authentic Gyumri dishes, but also reveals those culinary secrets to visitors.

Come join Karine in her kitchen and learn her family recipe for making chanakh—a nutritious comfort food, usually cooked with beef, but also sometimes with lamb. Following Karine step by step, you’ll start with a customary clay pot and add the meat. From there, you’ll learn about many local organic vegetables—onions, eggplants, tomatoes, green beans, peppers, and greens— that are grown locally and added to the dish. Then, Karine will help you flavor your chanakh with a blend of local spices, allowing you to either follow her family’s traditional recipe or add a style of your own. Finally, once you’ve combined all the ingredients, your clay pot enters the oven to simmer into a hearty chanakh!

While you wait for the main dish to cook, you’ll have a chance to make sweet pokhind dessert, made from whole-wheat kernels roasted and then ground into flour. Karine will show you the traditional ways of grinding flour using a hand-powered stone mill. Once you’ve got the basics down, you’ll mix the pokhind flour with a base of honey or milk and then add the ingredients of your choice, such as nuts and dried fruits. Then, roll everything together into ping-pong-sized balls of sweet goodness.

You’ll not want to miss a tour of their guesthouse and nearby small animal farm. Karine’s home contains a valuable collection of objects that embody the lifestyle and history of Gyumri—many of them recovered from the temporary shelters that emerged after the 1988 earthquake. At the farm, you may catch glimpses of the famous native Armenian Vana cats and Gampr dogs. Learn more about how Karine and her family established this farm in Gyumri to supply local ingredients for their restaurant.

Now that you’ve worked up an appetite, enjoy your delicious chanakh and pokhind with the hosts in the guesthouse’s cozy restaurant. Make sure you don’t miss the small souvenir shop that features selected works by Gyumri artisans.

Meet Your Host

Meet Karine and her family, the founders of Chalet Gyumri, a lovely guesthouse built in traditional architectural style but with modern conveniences. Thanks to their determination and hard work, they transformed a previously neglected piece of land into a welcoming place for visitors from across the world . Famous throughout Armenia, Gyumri’s hospitality permeates Chalet Gyumri, where since 2013 Karine and her daughter Ani have prepared spec ial menus for guests. Thanks to Karine’s extensive cooking experience, she prepares traditional dishes, as well as innovative updates of old classics. You’ll leave with a full belly and savor the taste of Armenia for years to come

Photo by Areg Vardanyan, My Armenia Program

Photo by Areg Vardanyan, My Armenia Program

Photo by Areg Vardanyan, My Armenia Program

Photo by Areg Vardanyan, My Armenia Program

Photo by Areg Vardanyan, My Armenia Program

Photo by Areg Vardanyan, My Armenia Program

Photo by Areg Vardanyan, My Armenia Program

Nearby Experiences

Similar Experiences

Stay Informed

Sign up to learn more about upcoming events, activities, and our work to preserve and share Armenia's cultural heritage.