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Make losh and barbecue in a special tonir

Make losh and barbecue in a special tonir  image

Aghavnavank village is nestled in the northeastern region of Tavush, an idyllic countryside with expansive, splendid views. The region’s dramatic scenery and lavish foliage is hard to beat, but there is a lot more than Aghavnavank’s landscape to fall in love with. It is a living example of multicultural coexistence of people forcibly displaced from their homes in the territory of Soviet Azerbaijan in the late 1980s. To protect this heritage, your host Alex Nersisyan established the Aghavnatun Center to preserve and revive the area’s diverse cultures. One of the Center’s most striking features is its one-of-a-kind tonir—a traditional Armenian wood-fired oven, but one that is found only in the territory from which the villagers came.

The tonir is essential for preparing the local losh bread—found only in this region and integral to enjoying khorovats, the main dish of barbecued meat. As visitors to Aghavnatun, you have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to first roll up your sleeves and then measure, mix, and knead the losh while also learning more about the bread.

Tavush pork barbecue comes from the pigs that roam Tavush's lush forests, grazing on nature’s abundance and making their meat famous throughout Armenia. Alex will teach you the science and techniques for marinating the pork, including the use of natural herbs, such as thyme picked from the nearby mountains.

While the pork is roasting, you’ll head to the cellar to sample homemade vodka and exclusive wines for a complete bouquet of Aghavnatun tastes and flavors. Alex, the first "official" winemaker in Aghavnavank, combines his family’s traditional winemaking skills with modern approaches to make family-label red and white wines from a variety of local grapes.

Meet your host

Meet Alex Nersisyan, who founded the Aghavnatun Center to preserve and illuminate the cultural heritage of the villagers in Aghavnavank, who were forced to leave 17 Armenian settlements in Soviet Azerbaijan in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The villagers share rich cultural traditions, especially culinary customs found nowhere else in Armenia. Alex explains, "Growing up, I watched my former playmates leave the village because of various hardships. I decided that I will never leave the village, and, moreover, I’ll make them return." Alex sees the villages as "the arks of people’s salvation" and hopes that one day all people will dream of moving to and living in villages. This idea became the motto for the Aghavnatun Center, which thanks to Alex’s efforts, has made Aghavnavank an example of rebirth, cultural dialogue, and community development.

My Armenia Program

My Armenia Program

My Armenia Program

My Armenia Program

My Armenia Program

My Armenia Program

My Armenia Program

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