A perfect traditional Azerbaijani dolma is bite-sized, should be filling but not too big and the most important part, it should be wrapped in a good quality, soft grape leave.
The best time to harvest grape leaves starts from mid spring through early summer, when the leaves are not too though and leathery but large enough to effectively wrap around food. Remembering, as a kid when I wanted to help my mother or grandmother harvesting grape leaves I was told to harvest the soft, "baby" leaves and prevent the bigger leaves with rough veins.Half of the fresh leaves were used to make dolma on that day and the other half was going to be preserved for making dolma in the winter.
Where can you find these leaves? Since living in Europe it was always a challenge to find grape leaves of the same softness, aroma and quality. The preserved grape leave of "Bizim Tarla" is an absolute favoruite which can be used to create an iconic Azerbaijani dolma!
Dolma, the most delicious and unique representative of the rich Azerbaijani cuisine, appreciated by the connoisseurs of delicious food, was recognized as the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.