Meet David Hoffmann

Meet David Hoffmann, the new fan of Armenian cuisine

​U.S.-based blogger David Hoffmann has recently added Armenia to the list of over 70 countries he has visited so far. He arrived at the invitation of the Tourism Committee of the Armenian Ministry of Economy. As David traveled around Armenia and Artsakh, he learned about Armenian culture, hospitality, and rich cuisine.GastroVino has talked with David about his impressions before he releases the video about Armenia on his channel, Davidsbeenhere.

Feeling welcome

I’ve heard about Armenia before and I learned a lot about it. It is not really big in size, but overall, you have a lot to do here. It is not a country that people come to for two or three days. I think you need 15 days minimum if you really want to see it.

People are very welcoming. Everybody opens their arms to me and I feel like I’m family within five minutes. There were so many moments during the trip when I started hugging the staff because they were so nice, so welcoming. I think Armenia is in the top five countries in hospitality.

Made with love

Armenian wine is one of the most unique wines I’ve tried. The cool thing about it is that you have indigenous grapes that you don’t find anywhere else in the world, like Areni and Voskehat. During the wine festival in Areni I tried lots of wines and I was blown away by the quality. They explained to me that the reason why it’s so good is because they make it with love, everything is taken apart by hand, not machine. The brandy was really good too. And lastly, it was going to the vineyard, seeing the process and seeing them make the vodka, which I’d never seen before, is what impressed me. The man literally distilled it and we drank it all in the same hour. Crazy!

Learning to make gata and lavash

I made gata in Haghartsin monastery. The women there were so friendly, they were like my grandmas! I’ve lost both my grandmothers, but it was like my grandmothers are in Armenia.It was a really cool process. They showed me how to make their [local] gata and I tried to make it too. My favorite was the blueberry one - delicious.In Garni, I made lavash. I’m not that good at it. It was hard, especially because you have to go into the “tonir” (the oven - GastroVino). I messed up and one lavash went down, and I got the next one too high.I think I’m going to take a lady from here and bring her home to make lavash (laughs – GastroVino).

The best farm-to-table gastro country

My favorite thing about Armenian cuisine is how fresh it is. This is, for sure, the best farm-to-table gastro country in the world for me. They pick the tomatoes and put them on the plate, get the greens and make my salad – I’ve never really seen that. There are so many dishes in Armenian cuisine, a huge variety. I have tried maybe 30 or 40 different things, and then also the salads.I love the water here and the best part is that you can drink it for free at any moment, anywhere. The coolest thing is that lots of the fountains have somebody’s name on it, so you bow down to it, giving respect to somebody who passed away.

“I’m coming back”

I filmed two or three videos every day, but every single one is so unique. There is no repeat in any way. I’m really hoping I’ll publish them mid-December.Everybody’s been blown away by I’ve been putting out on social media. I keep getting so many messages! People write to me: “Stop eating out, I want to eat too!” I’m getting great feedback.

Armenia has changed the way I see this part of the world. And I’m coming back. I don’t know when, but I’m going back soon.

Author: Gayane Yenokyan, Journalist, Photographer, Video Editor