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Forage for dinner & cook with grandma's recipes

Forage for dinner & cook with grandma's recipes image

Visitors get a taste of real foraging and the delicious food it produces. (Photo by Areg Vardanyan, My Armenia Program)

Sona Guesthouse is nestled in the picturesque village of Dsegh, famed as the birthplace of Hovhannes Toumanian, the great Armenian poet. For decades, tourists have flocked to the area’s outstanding natural beauty and luscious landscapes of pristine hills with heritage sites dotted throughout the area.

Your hosts, Ashot and Anahit Bezhanyan, invite you to a delightful hike and an opportunity to get to know the charming tradition of harvesting food from the forests. Your guides will choose your route based on the forest’s bounty in bloom that season, ensuring that your choice of foraged ingredients is always rich.

In the post-Soviet period, due to growing unemployment, foraging became a source of income for rural Armenians. In Dsegh, depending on the season, you can pick several types of fruits, nuts, berries, and mushrooms. Northern Armenia’s clean air and long sunny days bestow a wonderfully delicious taste to the region’s berries and fungi. Two fun and relaxing activities are hiking through Lori’s tranquil forests and foraging with Ashot, who is remarkably familiar with every nook and cranny.

There are numerous paths through the forest. Besides foraging, you may also visit Lake Tsover, a small lake surrounded by mountains, which is popular among locals and visitors alike. Alternatively, on a different route, you may visit the Monastery of Bardzrakash St. Grigor, dating to the medieval Bagratuni dynasty. History lovers will have plenty to discover in this stunning cultural and religious center that preserves the relics of Gregory the Illuminator.

After working up an appetite, join Anahit for a culinary class to turn the harvested goods into jams, relishes, homemade juices, or sauces with wonderful fruity flavor and added spices. Anahit will initiate you into the centuries-old culinary traditions of preparing and preserving the harvested berries and fruits through pickling or fermentation. You will be able to take home with you—and perhaps even put to use in your own garden—much of Anahit’s wisdom.

From natural and man-made wonders to hiking, foraging, and cooking, this tour will create many wonderful memories. Trade the bustling city streets for a day in Dsegh and end it with fragrant herbal tea and freshly made berry jam.

Host bio

Sona Guesthouse follows the rules of traditional hospitality in Dsegh and remains faithful to the saying, "a guest is a gift from God." This guesthouse is named after Sona, one of Anahit and Ashot Bezhanyan’s grandchildren, showing the importance of strong intergenerational ties in Armenia.

Anahit and Ashot, who have always lived in Dsegh, will help you discover the different stages, changes, and challenges of rural life in Armenia. Due to her profound knowledge about the village and the area, Anahit and her family members can share fascinating stories about the history of Dsegh, its nature, and its people. In return, visitors from different countries and regions of Armenia allow Anahit to observe new cultures and travel the world, all from her own home in Dsegh.

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

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