ISMAYILLI, AZERBAIJAN – Ismayilli is one of the most beautiful mountainous regions of Azerbaijan and today we’re hiking to a remote village for food. We’ll be making a type of rice pilaf and also a hand chopped meat dolma in the mountains. It’s going to be an amazing day of food and I can’t wait to share it all with you! #Azerbaijan #ExperienceAzerbaijan
Qafqaz Riverside Resort Hotel – First though to begin the day, we were treated to a gigantic Azerbaijani breakfast at the top of the mountain. We took the ski lift to the top where Chef had prepared a huge buffet of local delicacies from fruits and breads to eggs and qutubs. It was an amazing day and we needed some serious energy for the hike ahead.
We then took about a 2 hour hike in the mountains to a remote village that’s only accessible by foot and horse. The hike to get there was impressive, so beautiful. Our host family was so welcoming and hospitable. As soon as we arrived we were greeted with tea and a local herbal tea using herbs from the mountain. They live a pretty much self-sustaining life, growing and raising all their own food.
We got started cooking immediately, hand chopping the beef for the special mountain pip dolma. The meat was chopped then seasoned and wrapped in local pickled hornbeam leaves, then steamed for an hour. Seeing the entire process was a learning experience. Aunty had already prepared a type of local pilaf with fluffy rice and chicken before our arrival. The rice was so fluffy and fragrant, butter and the flavor of natural chicken. I love the extras cucumber and tomatoes and purple basil on the table, picked fresh from the garden. The dolmas wrapped in hornbeam leaves and served with yogurt were outstanding.
This was one of the most memorable food days in Azerbaijan, village food and cooking in a remote mountain village of only 28 people. The hospitality, natural beauty and delicious food made it spectacular.
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