Azerbaijani cuisine is a spectacular fusion of flavors, influenced by its multicultural population and unique geography. Here, you’ll find some of the world’s most flavorsome produce, from mouth-watering fruits and vegetables to delicious nuts, honey, sweets, and jams.
There are so many dishes to enjoy, but here are some classic ones that can be relished all over the country:
Dolma - made of grape leaves stuffed with various fillings of meat and rice, enriched with herbs or nuts. Its name comes from the Azerbaijani verb ‘dolmaq’, meaning ‘to stuff’.
Plov (or pilaf) - rice mixed with herbs, dried fruits, meat or fish, and other local ingredients. There are so many varieties of plov that it can never be boring!
Gutabs, or pancakes stuffed with different fillings, such as meat, spinach, cheese, or pumpkin. These are cooked over a fire on an iron disk called a saj. They are often drizzled with melted butter, sprinkled with sumakh, and served with yogurt and pomegranate. Yum!
Kebabs - chunks of meat soaked in sauces, impaled on skewers, and grilled on the barbecue. They can be made from lamb, beef, chicken, or fish, or even vegetables like potatoes, aubergines, green peppers, mushrooms, and tomatoes. The options are endless!
You can enjoy all of these and more at restaurants throughout Azerbaijan. These include everything from high-end Western-style restaurants to historic caravanserais, and rustic restaurants in beautiful locations. Being at one with nature while dining in Azerbaijan’s lush forests, along riverbanks, and at the seaside is an unforgettable experience.
And wherever you dine, you can expect to receive the best hospitality in the Caucasus. Guests are treated with enormous respect and it is a matter of pride to invite them for tea. Tea is an entire culture in Azerbaijan that has evolved since time immemorial to include its own rites and rituals. We serve our tea in a special pear-shaped glass called an armudu, often together with lemon and sugar, honey, jam, nuts, and sweets.
No gastronomic trip to Azerbaijan is complete without visiting a bazaar. Each day, hundreds of farmers bring fresh produce from across Azerbaijan’s 9 climate zones to bazaars throughout the country. Stalls and shelves are bursting with all sorts of delicious goodies, including local specialties like caviar, honey, preserves, sweets, and saffron.