Under the Walnut Tree is a family-owned guesthouse, food experience, and restaurant in the city of Yeghegnadzor, Vayots Dzor. Here you can learn more about Armenian traditions, including this cooking class on gata, an Armenian cake with sweet filling.
Lilit and Abraham, the founders of Under the Walnut Tree, will introduce you to the history of the guesthouse and restaurant. Their family has been hosting visitors for more than twenty years, beginning when their grandfather, who worked in the construction industry, began receiving business partners from abroad. They introduced their guests to Armenian culture by baking lavash and gata and involving them in daily tasks, such as feeding their livestock and tending to the garden.
Now you can experience this tradition of hospitality by learning how to bake gata from Lilit and Abraham. Gata is a cake traditionally prepared for holidays, weddings, rituals, and other special occasions. To make the dish, you wrap a sweet filling in cake, then shape it, and decorate. See the many creative ways that Armenian bakers at the Gata Festival in Vayots Dzor have designed their gata.
After the gata is decorated, your hosts will show you their tonir, a clay oven built into the ground for baking lavash and gata. While waiting for the gata to cook, try tasting some of Abraham’s vodka—homemade from grapes, plums, apples, berries, and/or other fruits.
Finally, enjoy your delicious dishes for lunch, along with herbal tea and other refreshments, on the guesthouse’s large patio. Under the Walnut Tree can accommodate up to eighty people with indoor and outdoor seating. Exploring the property or just taking in the view is a great way to conclude your time with Lilit and Abraham.
Meet your hosts
Hospitality is of the utmost importance in Armenia. Khalatyan's family has been hosting visitors for more than twenty years and this family tradition is now carried on by Lilit Khalatyan, who built Under the Walnut Tree on the foundation of her family's hospitality for sharing Armenian culture with international visitors.