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Learn to make sweet Armenian sujuk

Learn to make sweet Armenian sujuk image

Hripsime pulls the long rope of walnuts out of the thickened syrup. (Photo by Areg Vardanyan, My Armenia Program)

In the town of Ashtarak, the Tatoents Qotuk house stands out—and not only because it dates to 1837. What should draw you to the house are cooking classes in preparing one of Armenia’s culinary mainstays: sweet sujukh, the town’s best-known delicacy, made from threaded walnuts dipped in thickened grape juice. The walnuts of Ashtarak are so famous that they’re even venerated in folk songs. Almost every village resident has a walnut tree that may be generations old.

The same is true for the house that Hripsime Tumanyan’s family has owned for more than a century, and where Hripsime and her son, Karen Hakobyan, offer a variety of cooking classes—from tolma and pickled fruits and vegetables to delicacies like sweet sujukh.

In her outdoor kitchen, Hripsime will demonstrate how to delicately thread walnuts onto a string and then to dip your sweet sujukh into a grape syrup that has been mixed with a variety of spices like cloves and nutmeg before hanging it up to dry.

The heavy threads need a few days to dry, so you may return to pick yours up, have it delivered to Yerevan, or purchase some pre-made sujukh at Tatoents Qotuk to enjoy as a snack on your travels. Whatever your choice, you’ll be sure to remember sweet sujukh as an essential souvenir from your time in Ashtarak.

Meet your host

Meet Hripsime and her son, Karen, who welcome you into one of the most historic and cozy corners of Ashtarak, and who will share with you stories from their 18th-century ancestor Tadevos, known as Tato. Tatoents Qotuk is a two-story house, with a 200-year-old, seven-arched cellar. The stories of this house and of the family parallel each other and are inextricably connected. After deciding to keep the house, the family resolved to keep its door open, just as it has been for at least two centuries. Come through their open door, hear traditional Armenian music, taste delicious local food, and enjoy their captivating storytelling and warm hospitality.

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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