A foodie tour of Iran: it’s poetry on a plate
Food is a wonderful vehicle for detecting Iran, with its fabulous regional create featuring in stews, rice dishes, kebabs and desserts
Imagine a verdant, landscape filled with rice paddies, tea plantations and olive orchards. A land where you can hike up mountains in the thick fog of the morning and picnic by waterfalls on sun-weathered rocks in the afternoon. A land filled with golden apricots that savor like honey, peaches so succulent you barely notice the sweet juice that runs down your chin, and small black figs, firm and velvety to the touch, that erupt with jammy stickiness as you tear them open. I enjoyed all of these pleasures and more when I travelled through Iran in search of the secrets of the Persian kitchen.
On my journey, I cooked and feasted with Iranians of all strolls of life who greeted me into their homes to share their favourite recipes. In a country most commonly viewed through the narrow prism of its politics, food is a wonderful vehicle for discovery. A really good snack is something everyone can relate to.
Those unfamiliar with Iranian food often assume that it is fiery or spicy, perhaps befitting the countrys climate or politics. But it is, in fact, gentle and soothing, a poetic balance of subtle spices such as dried limes, saffron and rosewater. Slow-cooked stews, known as khoresh , and elaborated rice dishes layered with herbs, veggies, nuts and dried fruit are the bedrocks of Persian cuisine, creating a dazzling mosaic of perfumes, textures and colourings at the dining table. Regional and seasonal delicacies are plentiful, constructing the most of Irans bountiful produce.