What there is to discover in Azerbaijan
Shortly after eleven, it gets a little stressful for Sahib Hasanov. The first dumplings are ready. There is gutab: flat round pita bread filled with a mixture of fresh chopped spinach, spring onions, coriander and pomegranate seeds, once folded in the middle to form a half moon. Curious visitors stop in front of Hasanov's several-meter-long corner booth to watch as he briefly crisps the patties on a skillet, then brushes them with melted butter, sprinkles them with sumac, brushes them again with butter, cuts them into manageable strips and hands them over the counter.
Sweet and nutty
It looks good, and it tastes good, too. And while a line forms for gutab on one side, a group on the other is interested in the trays of various, prettily decorated baklava cakes. No reason for Hasanov to get nervous. He patiently explains his offer: "We have the classic Azerbaijani baklava with hazelnut and saffron, cinnamon, cardamom and butter. And then one with pistachios and one with almonds."
Also recommended: Shekerbura - sweet dumplings with ground hazelnuts, turmeric, saffron and sugar, traditionally served in Azerbaijan for the spring festival Novruz. "All baked and cooked by my wife Kenul," Sahib Hasanov points out. In Warsaw, Poland, where the two emigrated 20 years ago, they run a restaurant and a store. At Green Week, they will be serving typical Azerbaijani dishes every day in Hall 7: gutab, dolma (stuffed vine leaves with vegetables and rice) and pilaf - a rice dish with dates, raisins, apricots and beef.
Semi-dried persimmon and walnut jam
Freshly fortified, you can take a look at the often unusual products that Azerbaijan has brought with it - and you should look carefully. Jam, for example, could easily be overlooked, but here it is made from walnuts or white cherries. A few meters away, the Balkhoorma company is presenting a new product: semi-dried persimmons. And right next to it there is compote with green fruit balls, which turn out to be fejoia, also called pineapple guava, and grown in Azerbaijan for about 100 years.
But the main role is played by the pomegranate, which is considered one of the national symbols of Azerbaijan. The bright red seeds and their juice can be found almost everywhere: in the fresh dishes of Sahib and Kenul Hasanov, but also as compote, organic juice, organic syrup and as pomegranate wine. All grown and produced in Azerbaijan by the company Azgranata, which, according to its own information, is one of the largest juice producers in the southern Caucasus and has the company Granata as a distribution partner in Germany. The pomegranate juice is naturally pure without sugar and other additives.
Everything from pomegranate, tea, wine, cognac and many other treasures from Azerbaijan can be found in Hall 7.