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Americans made a culinary trip to Azerbaijan

For the first time, a cultural and culinary tour for American travelers was organized in Azerbaijan.

The tour was prepared by Farida Buyuran, the author of the popular blog and the book “Pomegranates and Saffron: A Culinary Journey to Azerbaijan”, published in the USA and already awarded several international awards.

As transfers, the tour included master classes in restaurants, visits to colorful bazaars and wine cellars, excursions to historical places and museums, workshops of artisans and others. In an interview with “Moscow-Baku” Farida Buyuran talked about how he went gastronomic tour and what impressions American travelers from Azerbaijan took with them.

– Has your life changed after the book “Pomegranates and Saffron: A Culinary Journey to Azerbaijan” appeared?

“This book really changed my life a lot.” She became the first publication released in the USA and telling about the culinary traditions of Azerbaijan. The book was published twice: for the first time in 2014 in a small edition, and then, in a more complete circulation, in 2015. “Pomegranates and saffron: a culinary trip to Azerbaijan” was awarded five international awards.

Thanks to the book and blog, I met many interesting people – our compatriots, as well as experts in the culinary field from around the world. She gave me the opportunity to get into the circle of interesting people, to give presentations in places that I could not even dream of. For example, in the library of Congress in Washington, where I first made a presentation about the history of culinary Azerbaijan.

In fact, both the book and my culinary blog, where I write in English, have radically changed my life. And today, thanks to them, I was able to organize a gastronomic tour to Azerbaijan. I never thought that I could do this! I really wanted to contribute to the development of gastronomic and cultural tourism in Azerbaijan. There is a lot of interesting things that tourists would like to see, and returning home they will definitely tell about our country.

The Americans made a culinary trip to Azerbaijan. PHOTO

– How did you get the idea of ​​holding a gastronomic tour to Azerbaijan?

– The idea arose not so long ago, in October 2017. I wanted to continue the theme of my book and implement its title – “Pomegranates and saffron: a culinary trip to Azerbaijan”. The idea was spontaneous, because I had never before been involved in tourism. It was a risk, but as with the book, she believed in herself. I announced my tour for enthusiastic tourists who want to travel to a country I have never been to before. And this country is Azerbaijan.

As a bonus, I also included Georgia on the trip. The group gathered in a few months, they were seven Americans, many of whom attended my culinary master classes, lectures and presentations about Azerbaijani cooking. A wonderful group gathered. One of the guests was Charles Perry, a leading expert on the history of culinary and president of Culinary Historians of Southern California.

The fact that he signed up for a tour in Azerbaijan was a great success for me. Other guests were also interesting: two of them were members of the Culinary Historians of Southern California organization, the rest were enthusiastic travelers who were interested in the culture, history, ethnography and architecture of foreign countries.

It is noteworthy that American tourists did not want to just go sightseeing and then have dinner in a restaurant. They wanted to learn more about the culture of the country through its culinary, communication with interesting people. Therefore, I did everything so that the guests got acquainted with the history and cultural of Azerbaijan, had the opportunity to chat with ordinary people, who set tables for them with all sorts of goodies, told their stories. In English, this is called full immersion in culture, when you are fully involved in the culture of another country.

– Where did you manage to go?

– We visited Baku, Guba, Ismaili, Gabala, Sheki, Gakh and Balakan. In the tour, I included a trip to the famous villages – Ivanovka, Lagich, Nij, Ilisu, Khinalig, Krasnaya Sloboda, where they got acquainted with local traditions and customs. The American guests learned about the ethnic groups living in Azerbaijan – the Udins and Molokans, visited the Balakyan village of Makhmalar, where Avars live. In each village, we showed our guests how colorful and vibrant our culture is.

The hospitality of our people, their friendliness. Wherever we are, we are everywhere greeted with a smile. The Americans were impressed by our cuisine, the variety of dishes such as dolma and pilaf, delighted with national sweets. They managed to try and see the technology for the preparation of four types of baklava – Baku, Guba, Sheki and Gabala.

These were completely different sweets, not like one another. According to them, such an abundance of baklava they have never seen before.

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