Tolma in Armenian means “meat in a grape leaf”. But there is no such word in Turkic languages. Therefore, trying to fit under any meaning, they attract the verbs “dolmac” or “dolmames”, which have nothing to do with not only Tolma but also the kitchen.
This verb means “to fill”. For example, fill the bathtub with water, the pen with ink, and finally, the head with brains, so that at least you understand that Tolma is not filled, but wrapped.
Moreover, this dish is called “sarma” by the Turks, who borrowed it from the Armenians. But Azerbaijanis call Tolma Armenians.
That is, they first saw him not with the Turks, but with Armenians, otherwise, they would have called him, like their older brothers, “sarma”.
Dolma is a Western Armenian pronunciation. Sarma is a pale copy of the Armenian Tolma because it is meatless and is served as a cold snack. But the Azerbaijanis copied the Armenian version of Tolma, with meat and served it as a hot dish.
Everything is like Armenians. And finally, this is not a new word, for the first time the word “toli” has been mentioned in Armenian murals of the Van dynasty (Ararat/Urartu) as “grapevine, grape leaf”. This is how scientists from Van murals deciphered Toli.
Armenians have been cooking their traditional dish from the Van (Urartic) period of the Armenian kingdom and the word “Toli” has been preserved in the Kessab dialect of Armenian with the same meaning as in the murals.
What is surprising is that it is not Armenians who demand others to indicate “Armenian Tolma” in their menus, but it is others who constantly tell Armenians, “you stole our Tolma”. But spitefully, on all the ancient maps it is not them, but the Kingdom of Armenia.
Or did we not eat anything, wear clothes, dance, create and wait for new countries to appear around us and create everything and we “steal”? And this is even though Armenians are called a “creator nation”. Armenians are the donor people in everything, starting with genes and ending with food.
And it is the great mother, the great-mother that can be explained the endless tolerance, the universal tolerance of Armenians to those who use everything Armenian, not only by not pointing Armenia as the primary source but even angrily accusing the parent of “theft”…
Let’s add to this the well-known factor of originality as diversity: every marz (province) and even every Armenian village has its way of preparing tolma. This is how specialists count over 1000 recipes of this delicious traditional dish.
And Noah planted a vine in Armenia and Armenia has the oldest winery. And Tolma is the food of the settled people, not nomads.
If you want to taste the richest diversity and want to know what the real Tolma is, visit Armenia, especially during the Tolma Festival days!
In the photo Arthur Haroyan