I have gone to places as far off the beaten track as Yemen and Uzbekistan, but nowhere that combined the fascination of the exotic with sheer beauty like Georgia and Azerbaijan. (For one thing, I’ve never seen so many waterfalls outside a rain forest.)

You could go for the history, the music, the architecture or the famous oriental rugs, but I wanted to explore the distinctive cuisines of the region, which love cooking meat with fruit and putting as many as four fresh herbs in a single dish. To say nothing of Azerbaijan’s unique baklavas made from doily-like crepes of rice batter.

Feride Buyuran knows and loves this region and its unusual ethnic mosaic. I'd say her tour was the most enjoyable trip I’ve ever been on.

– Charles Perry (Los Angeles, CA), President of Culinary Historians of Southern California
~ Colors of the Caucasus Food and Culture Tour to Azerbaijan and Georgia, July 2018

Being a world traveler, I have experienced many interesting things for sure. However, this adventure was a once in a lifetime opportunity! Thank you for making the trip one of the most special, unique, and amazing things I have ever done. I’ve been trying to describe it to people. They find the pictures beautiful, of course, but it’s hard to convey in words what it’s like to be in these villages with these people making your food and treating you like family. It was an unforgettable journey, and I am so happy that I was a part of it! Thank you, Feride!

– Kathy S. Rice (Los Angeles, CA)
~ Colors of the Caucasus Food and Culture Tour to Azerbaijan and Georgia, July 2018

We signed up for this trip on the recommendation of our old friend Charles Perry. I had to Google Azerbaijan knowing it was near the Middle East but not knowing exactly where it was. I was somewhat reluctant when I found it to be just above Iran. My wife was hesitant to visit a country she never heard of and was not going to go until she called Feride and talked with this passionate young lady. Both Jude and I are foodies and Feride has written a cookbook on Azerbaijan food.

We arrived in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, in the evening and were greeted by Feride at the airport. She whisked use off to an air-conditioned Mercedes Sprinter and we headed to the old city section of Baku. Just inside the old city walls was our hotel. It was very pleasant.

This was the start of our adventure. We were on the move constantly, going to many different dining experiences, cultural and historic sites (among them UNESCO World Heritage sites), operating rug factories, baklava bakeries, museums, palaces, mosques, old bathhouses, monasteries, churches, you name it - we went there!

This trip was amazing. We ate in great restaurants, but the true experience was when we ate in private homes and had authentic home cooking. We participated in the preparation of many meals and learned a great deal about local food.

If you are looking for a unique experience, this tour is for you. Feride is passionate about her country and wants to show you everything.

– Jude and Woolf Kanter (Los Angeles, CA)
~ Colors of the Caucasus Food and Culture Tour to Azerbaijan and Georgia, July 2018

If you’re looking for a great cultural adventure, I recommend Feride Buyuran Tours. I first learned of her trip to Azerbaijan and the Republic of Georgia while attending one of her cooking courses. It sounded so interesting and unusual that I recruited my middle son and we immediately planned to explore that part of the world. It turned out to be a once in the life time experience between a father and son.

It’s impossible to describe the best part of the trip since everyday was a great adventure. We talk a lot, however, about the families we shared great meals with, how much we learned, and how we may never have an experience like that together again.

Visiting the remote village of Khinalig, high in the Caucus Mountains could top the list. To get there, we all piled into old Soviet Lada Zhiguli autos and ascended the mountain roads to the village. The trip was a beautiful rugged experience through steep dirt roads, sheer cliffs, and rocky rivers. Once there, we found an agrarian community frozen in time. We encountered few vehicles, homes made of dry-stack stones, and people and children that were friendly and engaging. In the clear distance were beautiful grassy mountains with grazing livestock. Later, we shared lunch in a village home and learned more about food, history and life.

Equally interesting were our excursions into the Jewish and Russian enclaves of Azerbaijan. The Russian village of Ivanovka stands out as one of the many fascinating relics of Soviet influence gone by. There, we visited families and were invited into homes. We met a an elementary school principle that allowed a tour of her school and provided a lecture on the history of Molokan Russians in Azerbaijan. The mix of Muslim, Jewish, and Christian cultures struck me as remarkable.

Crossing over into the Republic of Georgia was equally fascinating. Being an Eastern Orthodox Christian country, we visited many magnificent 5th – 15th century cathedrals and monasteries. Over the years, these beautiful structures were hammered by the crusaders, other foreign invaders, and then by Soviet neglect. It was amazing to witness their reconstruction and recovery. Today, their outlook appears very positive.

Every day was interesting. Every day we met new people that were friends, neighbors, or relatives of our tour guides. As a result, we were always treated with hospitality and curiosity. It was a great experience to learn from and share with my son. I will absolutely tour again with Feride Buyuran Tours when time allows.

– Darrow Soares (Los Angeles, CA)
~ Colors of the Caucasus Food and Culture Tour to Azerbaijan and Georgia, July 2018

Having just completed a tour of Azerbaijan and its autonomous exclave Nakhchivan curated by Feride Buyuran Tours, I can wholeheartedly recommend that anyone interested in food and culture sign up for one of Feride's upcoming tours of Azerbaijan and Georgia. Her diligence in finding the right people, the right places and in keeping everything organized and flowing was truly remarkable. I can only hope to have her arrange another tour someday.

– Stephen Facciola (New Jersey), Author of Cornucopia: A Source Book of Edible Plants.
~ Private Tour to Azerbaijan, October 2018.