Food is a wonderful vehicle for discovering Iran, with its fabulous regional produce featuring in stews, rice dishes, kebabs and desserts
Imagine a verdant, landscape filled with rice paddies, tea plantations and olive groves. A land where you can hike up mountains in the thick mist of the morning and picnic by waterfalls on sun-weathered rocks in the afternoon. A land filled with golden apricots that taste 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 delights 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 walks of life who welcomed 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 meal is something everyone can relate to.
I visited saffron farms, rosewater festivals and pomegranate orchards – finding the history behind evocative ingredients
Central Iran is also home to the country’s finest pistachios, which feature in both sweet and savoury dishes