By Laman Ismayilova
With its delicious food and drinks, Pomegranate Festival has gathered foodies in St. Petersburg, Russia.
For Azerbaijanis, Pomegranate festival is the most anticipated holiday of autumn.
For the third year in a row, residents of St. Petersburg have a unique opportunity to enjoy a tart pomegranate taste, but also to plunge into the atmosphere of traditional Azerbaijani festivity.
Dozens of traditional foods and drinks were presented at the festival. The gala event featured a wide variety of entertainment from master classes to face art.
As part of the event, the festival's guests also got acquainted with Azerbaijan's rich culture and history.
After spectacular concert, the visitors took part in the master class. The festival's guests cooked gutab, an Azerbaijani stuffed flatbread, which everyone should try at least once.
Three baskets with the Azerbaijani gifts were raffled off as part of the festival.
The festival was organized by the Saint-Petersburg Azerbaijan National-Cultural Autonomy and the Azerbaijani Youth Union operating under it
The history of Azerbaijan is inseparably connected with cultivating pomegranates.
There are various sorts of pomegranate in Azerbaijan. Currently, about 200 varieties of pomegranate are cultivated here.The most famous among them are Veles, Shirin, Guleysha and Shikhbaba. These varieties differ in the thickness of peel and the size of grains.
This round red fruit is widely used in the country's national cuisine. Pomegranate sauce called narsharab is a real pride of Azerbaijani cuisine. "Narsharab" is translated as "pomegranate wine", but there is not a drop of alcohol in the sauce.
Narsharab is prepared from pre-pressed fresh pomegranate seeds. Pomegranate grains are poured over the fire and slowly boiled. A few hours later the liquid is removed from the heat.
Salt and spices such as pepper, coriander, bay leaf, cinnamon, and basil are added to enhance the taste.
There are many recipes of narsharab widely used in Azerbaijani cuisine. The best one is made from Goychay pomegranate variety.
Pomegranate, the country's national symbol has already received worldwide recognition. Last year, 180,000 tons of pomegranates were produced in Azerbaijan. The main export destinations this year were Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan.
The pomegranate contains hundreds of edible seeds called arils, which are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals and bioactive plant compounds.
Pomegranate juice and peel are used in the treatment of up to 20 diseases. Moreover, pomegranate rind, as well as oil from its seeds are used in cosmetology, pharmaceutical production.
Laman Ismayilova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Lam_Ismayilova
Follow us on Twitter @AzerNewsAz