Georgia’s cuisine is a delightful melting pot of flavors, thanks to its position at the crossroads of Europe and Asia. This guide will provide you with key insights to fully appreciate Georgian gastronomy.
1. Indulge in Khachapuri
No Georgian feast is complete without ‘Khachapuri,’ a warm, cheesy bread dish often referred to as Georgian pizza. There are different regional varieties, but ‘Adjarian Khachapuri,’ with an egg on top, is particularly popular.
2. Sample Georgian Dumplings
‘Khinkali,’ Georgian dumplings filled with meat, herbs, and broth, are a must-try. Remember to eat them with your hands – locals even have a special technique to avoid spilling the broth.
3. Savor Grilled Meats
‘Kebabs’ and ‘Mtsvadi’ (Georgian Shashlik) are common grilled meat dishes. Often marinated in wine and spices, these meats are usually served with a plum sauce known as ‘Tkemali.’
4. Dive into Vegetarian Delights
Georgian cuisine offers an abundance of vegetarian dishes. ‘Badrijani Nigvzit’ (eggplant rolls with walnut filling), ‘Lobio’ (bean stew), and ‘Pkhali’ (vegetable pâté) are flavorful and satisfying.
5. Relish Unique Cheeses
Georgia has a rich cheese-making tradition. ‘Sulguni,’ a pickled cheese, and ‘Guda,’ a sheep cheese aged in a sheepskin sack, are among the unique cheeses you should sample.
6. Experience the Supra
A ‘Supra’ is a traditional Georgian feast led by a ‘Tamada,’ or toastmaster. This is not just a meal but a cultural experience involving food, wine, toasts, and often, singing.
7. Enjoy Georgian Wine
Georgia is believed to be the birthplace of wine, with a wine-making tradition dating back 8,000 years. Be sure to try ‘Saperavi,’ a deep red wine, or ‘Rkatsiteli,’ a crisp white.
8. Explore Local Markets
Local markets, such as the ‘Dezerter Bazaar’ in Tbilisi, provide an authentic taste of Georgia, with an array of fresh produce, spices, cheese, and more.
9. Learn Georgian Food Etiquette
When eating ‘Khinkali,’ remember to hold it by the twisted knob, take a small bite, and suck out the broth before consuming the rest. However, the knob, or ‘kudi,’ is typically left uneaten.
10. Engage with Locals
Georgians are known for their hospitality. Engage in conversations, accept invitations, and you might find yourself being treated to a home-cooked meal or a secret family recipe.
Georgia’s culinary landscape is a vibrant blend of robust flavors, traditional techniques, and heartfelt hospitality. From ‘Khachapuri’ to ‘Khinkali,’ ‘Supra’ feasts to ancient wine traditions, the Georgian food experience promises to be unforgettable. Get ready to savor the feast, ‘Gmadlobt’ (Bon Appétit)!