The apricot is a fruit that holds deep cultural, historical and economic significance in Armenia. It is believed that the apricot made its way from China to Europe through Armenia. Its Armenian origin is suggested by its Latin name “Prunus armeniaca”.
In Armenia, the apricot is more than just a fruit; it’s a symbol of the country and its people. The apricot color is represented on the Armenian flag. If you ask any Armenian about the national colors, they won’t say “red, blue and orange”. They will confidently reply: “red, blue and apricot”.
Apricots are often featured in traditional Armenian music, literature, and art. For instance, the ancient Armenian musical instrument “duduk” is made from apricot wood. The song “Apricot Stone” represented Armenia in the Eurovision 2010 contest. The song “Tsirani Tsar” (meaning “Apricot Tree” in English) is another popular Armenian song that metaphorically uses the apricot tree in themes of love and loss. Its author, Komitas Vardapet, a prominent Armenian music composer, ethnomusicologist and priest, often incorporated apricot-related themes in his compositions and studies of Armenian folk music.
In Armenian cuisine, apricots are used in various dishes. They can be found in desserts, jams, and even some savory dishes. Dried apricots are a popular treat and are one of the delicacies worth bringing from Armenia.
Apricots are a significant agricultural product for Armenia, both for domestic consumption and export. The fruit is often exported to neighboring and European countries. Armenian apricots are prized for their sweetness, aroma and quality, often considered superior to apricots grown elsewhere.
If you’re in Armenia during apricot season, it’s almost mandatory to taste them. The local fruit is sweet, juicy and the flesh easily separates from the stone. If you buy apricots in a supermarket, the layers are often separated by leaves, indicating that they were recently harvested and the leaves haven’t wilted yet.