Kochfreunde.com is the culinary magazine of Oliver Wagner. Here, everything revolves around the almost most beautiful thing in the world: good food. The focus ranges from reports on exciting restaurants to recipes from his own kitchen, cookbooks and culinary gadgets.


Kochfreunde.com ist das kulinarisches Magazin von Oliver Wagner. Hier dreht sich alles rund um die beinahe schönste Sache der Welt: Gutes Essen. Dabei reicht der Fokus von Berichten über spannende Restaurants bis hin zu Rezepten aus der eigenen Küche, Kochbücher und kulinarische Gadgets.

Notes from Armenia

Although the purpose of my trip was a business one, it is of course extremely convenient for the culinary interested food blogger in me, if people like to eat so well in a country, like in Armenia. So in two days we managed to visit four different restaurants, two of them at the invitation of the organizers and hosts of the Armnet Conference, where I gave a presentation on social media analytics and CRM. I was credibly assured that I had gained quite good insights into all relevant areas of national cuisine. In general, I have the feeling to have seen quite a lot, even apart from the culinary.


“Of course!”, I said. As if I would ever pass up an invitation to a traditional meal. Khash, I researched afterwards, is not only a tradition but is considered a special delicacy in Armenia and is usually eaten as part of a feast within families. A khash requires some advance preparation, as it consists primarily of the feet of beef cooked for over 24 hours. This intense cooking process causes the meat to separate from the bone, cartilage to break down, and an intense, but initially unseasoned, broth to emerge. It is then up to each guest to prepare their personal portion as it suits their personal preferences. To prevent the brew from cooling down, it is poured into a clay bowl over hot coals. You season with salt and a garlic paste, separate meat from the bone and add small pieces of lavash (unleavened flatbread). Eaten by hand or with another piece of the pita bread.

Matoss photo
Matoss photo

There are at least two traditions for the origin of this traditional Armenian dish. Thus, in the past, it was considered, on the one hand, as a rustic meal of the poor people, who had only the leftovers of the animals at their disposal, and on the other hand, as a fortification for the soldiers before the battle or before long marches. Even today, the health-promoting effect is reported.

However, since digestibility has not improved much over the years, a khash is eaten early in the day and accompanied by copious amounts of vodka; moreover, it is still considered more of an event for men – all the nicer that we enjoyed it in a mixed gathering.


While we were still sitting in a cozy circle with our khash at noon, we were already philosophizing about interesting dishes and options for the rest of the day. Chinkali I should try, was finally the some tenor at the table. These are more likely to come from Georgian cuisine, but that is considered to be extremely good anyway, and on the other hand, Georgia is right next door. Since I’m a big fan of pelmeni and chinkali are something like the grand relatives, I was very excited about this choice as well. Of course, it did not stop with the chinkali. As usual, we started with a variety of appetizers and cheeses, then sampled smaller and larger meat preparations, slowly working towards the finish line:

Photo from Freddolosa
Photo from Freddolosa

Of course, there are different fillings and variants, regional differences and peculiarities. What they all have in common is that the dumplings are eaten by hand, starting by carefully biting a small hole in the dough – otherwise all the liquid part of the filling threatens to run right out. After that, continue working in this way, but leave the tip, that is, the part where the chinkali was twisted together.

A wonderful dish that actually can’t wait until the next visit to Armenia and should make its way into my home kitchen when the opportunity arises (numerous recipes can fortunately be found on Youtube).

Tumo Center for creative technologies

Sometimes it is the coincidences that lead you to the most interesting places. The Tumo Center is certainly one of them – and I was delighted to get a personal tour of the technology center founded by Sam and Sylva Simonian, wealthy Armenians in exile. On more than 7,000 square meters, they have created a place that revolves around the creative and digital education of the next generation. Free of charge for the students and at an extremely high level, both in terms of content and didactics.


Kids between 12 and 18 are introduced to the digital disciplines of design, film, games and music at a perfect technical level. There is a small cinema (the best in Yerevan, by the way), games rooms with the latest blockbusters for Playstation 3, Wii and Xbox 360, and band and rehearsal rooms. International experts and artists, such as Serj Tankian most recently, regularly give lectures and seminars. And somehow Tumo also stands overall as a symbol of the dawn of a new, even better future. At least the local IT industry is already very much looking forward to the young talents…

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Hotel Strand am Königshafen, Sylt

Hotel Strand am Königshafen, Sylt

Sous-vide: Rib eye

Sous-vide: Rib eye

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