Lavash bread is a staple across Armenia. It is extremely thin, but with a slight sponginess to it. It is used for everything whether to soak up the stew, make Armenian wraps or just about anything. You may just look at it as just the usual local bread, but it has become so much more than that. It is a staple of Armenian life and culture throughout the country. Lavash is being recognized as the UNESCO's newest cultural addition.
Any traveler to Armenia will undoubtedly try lavash. The extremely thin bread is extremely thin, just a mix of water and flour. It is then seasoned with salt and occasionally other toppings such as sesame seeds. While incredibly simple, lavash requires a delicate hand and an enormous amount of skill and coordination to properly make it. The right type of oven helps as well.
Traditionally made by women, the dough is rolled out into small balls, rolled into disks, and finally stretched out on an oval cushion on the side of the hot oven. Because of the thin nature of the flat bread, it only needs to be cooked for about thirty seconds.
The traditional bread is a key part of Armenian cuisine and a staple of household cooking. It also plays a role in the culture of Armenia. It is a tradition for a flat bread to be placed on the shoulder of the couple to promote fertility and prosperity. It has been long used in the community as a way to gather and become stronger together. The process of making the bread strengthens the family ties and helps bring them closer. The men will typically make the ovens while the women bake the bread.
Lavash has been picked for UNESCO's list of intangible heritage of Armenian culture. Lavash bread is considered by many, a uniquely Armenian tradition. The reason for the controversy was mostly to Armenia's infamous neighbors. The Azerbaijan are not particularly happy about lavash being culturally claimed by the Armenians. The tensions between the two have been high for years, and as soon as UNESCO announced the addition, the Azerbaijan party sent an official letter. Iran has also had issues with the announcement. Iran claims that lavash is actually Iranian in origin, and they have requested that the list be amended and list it as Iranian in origin. Iran was not angered by the lavash getting the recognition it deserved, but simply being given to Armenia.
This is the fourth listing on the UNESCO cultural heritage list. Other listings include Khachkars, cross stones, the music of the Duduk and the national epos "David Sasunsky"