Canada is like a little brother. A better read, better educated, more humble, healthier little brother. But still a little brother! Land of Bob and Doug, Mounties and hockey, right? Well, yeah.
But we were pleasantly surprised to discover a tiny out of the way city. Maybe some of you have heard of it. We think it’s pronounced Montreal? Not sure. Look it up though.
Anyway, this city has a bakery called Arouch and they make pizzas. Not your standard greasy, disgusting New York City style pizza loaded with enough toppings to burn a hole in the box. And not even the peculiar Chicago style pizza, all doughy and thick. No, no, the bakery makes Armenian style pizza – a wafer thin pita-like crust with the topping baked in.
First a little background. Arouch has four bakeries around Montreal, and they are most famous for a pizza called the Lahmajoun, a beef, garlic and pepper pizza. The bakery was founded in 1978, and that’s really about all the history your going get from the website. We did appreciate the fact that the ingredient and calories chart of each product was on the site. Though, this being Canada, they may legally have to do that! Anyway, its a simple and direct site. Check it out here: http://arouch.com
We picked up the Arouch pizza flavor called Zahtar at a local middle-eastern food mart here in Manchester. Zahtar pizza is very simple – a combination of thyme and sesame baked into the crust with a bit of sumac, canola oil and salt. That’s it, and that’s enough.
Even off a shelf in the bread aisle this stuff is tasty. We popped it into our toaster oven (yes, we have a toaster oven!) for about two minutes, and it was crunchy and warm and sharp. The sesame flavor is very strong and leaves a nice after taste.
Adding to the yum was the dough itself, which has a slightly sweet flavor, perfectly setting off the spices.
There are two pizzas in the pack, each about the size of two normal American slices, about 250 calories each.
Now, one of our favorite trail snacks is pitas. You can fill them with pepperoni, cheese, peanut butter, veggies, pretty much anything and you’ll have some decent carbs at your fingertips. The Zahtar didn’t quite step up to the convenience of a pita shell, but it was easily cut up into smaller triangles and didn’t need much filling as the spices did the trick. One easy suggestion though to make the Zahtar a little less dry would be to dip it in humus. Mmmmm!
Pizza is not something you’d think of as a trail snack, but this kind of pizza can be. Pick some up fresh, the day before a day hike, Ziploc it and get going. Next time we’re at an AMC hut, we’re going to plop one of these down right on the wood stove and it’ll be heaven!
Our chilly friends to the North have improved upon pizza, the perfect food. Who would have thought?