Persikka is a culinary journey to the most heard but the least visited country in the world, IRAN. Persikka is the outcome of one Iranian’s identity crisis. It is seeking a proper answer to the irritating question of “where are you from?”. Persikka is a possibility for Vahid to keep his head up despite all odds while telling the world his own story. For him food is the best manifestation of himself and his beloved motherlands’ culture.
Iran is home to one of the world’s oldest continuous major civilizations, with historical and urban settlements dating back to 7000 BC. Geopolitical location of Iran shaped its culture. The country has been in the middle of the old world, connecting four corners of the world to each other. Iranian/Persian cuisine is a living record of this complicated history. The cuisine is an outcome of the thousands of years of cultural exchanges among the people who lived in that territory, passed by, conquered it or got conquered by.
Despite all the glorious background, nowadays being an Iranian is an undeniable stigma. International and national political propagandas created a totally distorted image of Iran and Iranians. They call it the axis of evil. 80 million population of the country continuously are labelled as terrorists. As the Iranian Oscar awarded filmmaker Asghar Farhadi puts it, in the past decades this rich and ancient culture has been hidden under the heavy dust of politics.
The term, persikka itself is a culinary novel: peach got its Finnish name -persikka- from the Persians, who brought the fruit to Europe [until 1935 Iran used to be called “Persia” and the inhabitants, Persian]. The name Persikka symbolises the historical links between two continents who for the past decades have shared a complex relationship.
Over two nights of dinner in Måndag, Vahid took his guests dish after dish across the 1,648,195 km2 of Iran. The five-course meal was a combination of vegetarian and vegan dishes (and drinks), all inspired by the traditional dishes from different regions of Iran:
- Gol Gavzaban Herbal Drink (the warm welcoming drink)
- Noon Panir Sabzi (the 1st starter)
- Saffron Shot (refreshing fizzy drink)
- Fesenjan (the 2nd starter)
- Shiraz Wine
- Geimeh (the main course)
- Zeytoon Parvardeh (a little snack)
- Ranginak (the 1st dessert)
- Sekanjabin (refreshing drink)
- Pomegranate Blanket (the 2nd dessert)
- Good Night Tea
"For an evening, I felt like I took a ride on my magic flying carpet to a mysterious yet very tasteful destination. It was a very uncommon trip to middle eastern cuisine, an experience rich in many ways..." — Niina Hietalahti, Food strategist
Buying, selling and producing alcohol has been totally forbidden in Iran since 1979. However, wine has a long history in the country. The archeologists have discovered one of the oldest wine remains in Iran. Shiraz wine got its name from Shiraz, a famous city in Iran, which is well-known because of its wine. [Read more about it here]
Zeytoon Parvardeh is green olives marinated with pomegranate molasses, garlics, mints, etc. It is a very popular side dish from the north of Iran, where pomegranate is used a lot.
This very popular drink is drunk especially during the summer time in Iran. People also enjoy the syrup by dipping lettuce in it.
“One of the most beautiful and tasty meals I've ever enjoyed…” — Sari Tarvainen, Planning Officer at Aalto University
This dessert was a tribute to our national fruit, pomegranate, which symbolises life and love in our culture.
Without having a wonderful team making these two memorable night was impossible.
Big thanks to Chef MinhDũng Huỳnh, Trang Nguyen and Mahmoud Assiabi, the waiting team. Special thanks to Alexander Popkov Photography for documenting the very first Persikka beautifully.