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Nostalgia for a mythical Armenia
The fruits of a paradise lost
The Garden of Eden, this ever-lush orchard in an eternal Spring, stirred by gentle breezes and alive with birdsong, had a profusion of multicoloured and scented flowers and fruit. Peaceable animals lived there, and there were gold and precious stones in abundance.
The apricot – "egg of the sun" in Persian – is a symbol of Armenia. It is used in the traditional anoushabour, in jam or filled with a variety of sweets. It is turned into pistil, a delicious and stimulating treat in which the fruit is crushed, dried in the sun and turned into a paste that is stretched into sheets, like flatbread, often folded like lavash. Linnaeus named it Prunus armenicus, "the Armenian plum". Under the heading "Apricot" in his Grand Dictionnaire de Cuisine, Alexandre Dumas clearly stated : "The tree that bears this fruit came to the Romans from Armenia." The pomegranate, the forbidden fruit of paradise (according to some biblical readings), is the symbol of Armenia. Like Mount Ararat, it is depicted everywhere.
Since Antiquity, Armenia has provided the world with carmine, a bright red pigment obtained from the cochineal. The country was also renowned for the quality of a semi-precious turquoise-like stone, chrysocolla, which was prized by jewellers in ancient times.