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Can you imagine leaving Italy without tasting famous Italian pasta and pizza. No?! The same is with Armenian Khash.
Starting from early September, Armenians begin to remind each other that the season of Khash is already open and it’s time to gather around the winter soup. If you ask Armenians the best time for tasting Khash, probably everyone will reply “all months, the names of which contain letter ‘R’”; it means that you can eat khash starting from September till April. These are chilled and wintery months in Armenia.
Name of the winter soup is the shortened version of the Armenian verb “khashél” that is “to boil”. Khash is mostly made of feet and stomach of cow or sheep. The recipe may seem simple but one should master special skills to cook really tasty winter soup.
Even children in Armenia know that Khash is generally served early in the morning. People say that this “ritual” of eating Khash early in the morning started from days of yore. During that period, the rich took only the meat after slaughtering an animal. The poor picked up thrown feet and entrails of the animal and cooked them. As they didn’t want anyone to know what they eat, the soup was made early in the morning. But if you ever tasted Khash you will verify the rightfulness of eating this delicious winter soup early in the morning, as it is very difficult to digest. Many people, who are going to eat Khash, avoid eating anything from the previous evening.
If you ever were a guest to any Armenian family you will state that the table laid before you contains all the appetizing dishes, fruits and vegetables that one can find in Armenia. Unlike other kinds of Armenian dishes, there are limited supporting constituents that suit to serve with Khash; garlic, salt, greens, radishes, lavash (UNESCO), mineral water, and a good portion of vodka. The interesting thing is that during preparation no one puts any spices and even salt in the bouillon.
Armenians say that for eating Khash one needs to possess some advanced skills.
First; you should add salt and garlic into the soup up to your taste. Second; remove meat from soup onto another plate. Third; cover it with soft lavash to keep it warm. Forth; Chip dried lavash into the soup until there remains no bouillon in the plate. People who call themselves “True Khash eaters” eat it without spoon, using lavash instead. They are sure that this dish is tastier when you eat it with your own hands. You can also see people who cover their heads with lavash or a piece of cloth while eating khash.
So even though Armenians are famous for making countless toasts during any event, there are only three toasts that traditionally are made during the “Khash party”, which are well-defined and announced in a special order. Khash related toasts are relatively brief.
The first toast is for good morning, which is suggested when everyone is served with Khash and put some salt, garlic and dried lavash into it.
The second toast is for the hosts, literally translated "For the ones who “put” Khash”. The guests make a toast to thank the hosts.
Later comes the third toast, a toast for guests. Literally it is translated as "For the ones who eat the Khash”. These are the obligatory toasts, which are considered to be complete after the third. But a late arriving guest is provided an opportunity to drink for the "Good Morning".
So! If you have decided to eat Khash, you will need to get up at dawn or even earlier; do not even think about breakfast, dress up with something very comfortable, call your friends and head out. There are many restaurants in Yerevan that serve Khash, but if you want to have an unforgettable experience and combine adventure with Khash, chase away to Mount Aragats. There is a restaurant near the lake called Kari 3250m (10663ft) above the sea level, which is famous for serving Khash (even during Summer).
The best way to get there and driving on mountainous locations is to rent an SUV from Enterprise Rent-A-Car Armenia. You can also request a chauffeur service, in case you wish to combine Khash with vodka and participate in the Armenian toast traditions.
If you are visiting Armenia during winter, then you should be prepared for the winter adventures that you can be part of. In its turn Enterprise Rent-A-Car will help you choose the right vehicle for your winter itinerary, visit winter attractions and explore Armenia.
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Armenian National Winter Soup: Khash