Phew! I’ve just landed back in the UK after a 3000 km trip through Iran with my photographer Sharhzad Darafsheh.
Over the last 6 weeks, I’ve been feasting and adventuring my way through Iran. I’ve travelled from the snowy mountains of Tabriz in the North-West of the country, through the rice paddies of Gilan, via the cosmopolitan metropolis of Tehran, stopping off in the artistic and cultural hubs of Isfahan and Shiraz before finishing the trip basking in the sweet sunshine and tropical waters of Bandar Abbas, an ancient port town on the Southern tip of the country.
And if you are not quite sure what all of that might look like, you can see my travels on a map here.
On my trip I ate, cooked with, and interviewed Iranians from all walks of life. This included meeting and eating with spice sellers, hip-hop artists, car salesmen, students, housewives, bee-keepers, yoga teachers and wedding planners (to name but a few!). The food I ate was as diverse as it was delicious, from Indian inspired spicy tamarind fish curries, to Levantine influenced hot yoghurt and chickpea soups. It was a trip that took me to the heart and soul of every Iranian’s home – their kitchen.
My trip was my final chunk of research for my book, Saffron: Tales From the Persian Kitchen which will be published by Bloomsbury in Spring 2016. I’ll be spending the next few months transcribing my interviews, recreating and testing the recipes that people showed me on my travels and pulling together the final sections of the book. I can’t wait to get cracking and put to paper all that I ate and saw in this beautiful, diverse, complex and contradictory country. More stories and pictures coming soon – watch this space!