I have been in Armenia on a work trip for the past week. (Yes, I am only planning to go places that begin with “A” from now on.) It’s been an amazing experience. Since one of the focuses (foci?) of the project we are working on is food, eating has been a big part of the trip. Since I am planning to write a work blog about “Armenian Snickers,” I will not mention them here, you will just have to wait for that. But, we have been eating a lot of delicious food. Yoghurt (madzoon) is a whole new experience here. Each morning at breakfast at our hotel, I try another combination of nuts, jams, and honey (and even corn flakes) with this thick drained version of yoghurt – think the best Greek yoghurt with no sour “bite” to it. Also, it is made into soup called “spas” with grains and a particular type of herb (it looks like tarragon in the soup, though I am sure people use different types of herbs. This recipe calls for cilantro.) Imagine our group of researchers in Areni, in the Vayots Dzor province, at a bed and breakfast which also serves lunch on its patio, eating this refreshing soup for a second course. First course consisted of a variety of salads (one with horse sorrel is particularly good in my opinion). Main course was a sort of chicken and wheat stew called “harissa.” Then tea or strong Armenian coffee and “gata” (cake). This was after visiting one of the most spectacularly situated historic monasteries in the country, called Noravank. Good food, beautiful scenery, kind people, interesting (though sometimes tragic) history… Armenian culture is alive and lively, like its yoghurt.