By Laman Ismayilova
Baku has hosted an event marking the 25th anniversary of Azerbaijan's National Culinary Center organized jointly with the Culture and Tourism Ministry, Azerbaijan National Culinary Association (ANCA) and the Center itself, Trend life reports.
Guests enjoyed the exhibition featuring works by Azerbaijani cooks and Azerbaijan's Union of Artists, as well as the stands with photos showcasing the achievements of national cookeries.
Culture and Tourism Minister Abulfas Garayev, addressing the event, informed about ancient history of Azerbaijani cuisine and its traditions.
The minister said that Azerbaijani culture doesn't consist only from art, national carpets and music.
“Our national cuisine is a part of Azerbaijani culture. The richer nation, the richer is its cuisine. Samples of Azerbaijani cuisine are our national heritage,” he said. “Our malevolent neighbor tries to infringe our national cuisine at every opportunity. But we decently respond to them by our works. We must declare ourselves master of Azerbaijani national cuisine, culinary culture and promote in the world.”
Then, the minister handed Tahir Amiraslanov a congratulatory letter from Azerbaijan's First Lady, President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, UNESCO and ISESCO Goodwill Ambassador , Mehriban Aliyeva.
The minister announced that President Ilham Aliyev has signed an executive order conferring honorary title of “Honored Worker of Arts of the Republic of Azerbaijan” to national cooks Oruj Aliyev and Tahir Amiraslanov for the promotion of national cuisine.
Tahir Amiraslanov, addressing the event, said that Azerbaijani cuisine is known worldwide. Speaking about the works carried out by the National Culinary Center during 25 years and declaring future plans Amiraslanov stressed that the organization represents Azerbaijani cuisine with dignity.
“We have won the National Culinary Cup as well as gained first places at various competitions, prevented provocations of Armenia against our cuisine. We have published a book at the Council of Europe on Azerbaijani cuisine. My biggest desire and intention is to make Azerbaijan a culinary capital of the world,” he concluded.
Azerbaijan already has experience in local food promotion, as it patented Azerbaijani breakfast in 2015. The traditional Azerbaijani breakfast consists of sweet butter, various types of white cheese, cream, honey, preserves, tea, and kuku or scrambled egg with herbs.
Dolma – fresh meat and stuffing wrapped in grape leaves or vegetables – is one of the first things one must try while visiting Azerbaijan. Azerbaijanis eat dolma year-round; grape leaf dolma in the spring and winter, vegetable dolma in the summer, and cabbage dolma in the autumn and winter months.
Pilaf, a dish known throughout the world, is a course that is served during any big day in Azerbaijan.
Another mouth-watering dish is levengi – chicken and fish stuffed with walnuts, onions, sweet and sour dried fruit.
In addition, Azerbaijan’s famous kebab is must-taste item here, accompanied with Azerbaijan’s famous fresh, juicy tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplants and sweet pepper. This dish is eaten at every occasion throughout the year.
While staying in Azerbaijan, tourists must taste “local pizza” or qutab – sugarless flour pancake stuffed with anything from meat, cheese and herbs to pumpkin. Qutab is always served with ayran, a cold yogurt beverage mixed with salt and herbs.
Azerbaijani sweets are something else. People who try it once cannot forget the taste and even try to cook pakhlavas and shakarbura in their home countries.
Laman Ismayilova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Lam_Ismayilova
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