Cuisine is important part of Georgian culture
The national cuisine of Georgia is one of the reasons why everyone should visit the country. It can be said that Georgians are just as proud of Georgian cuisine as their rich history and traditions. The proof that the food has an important role in Georgian culture is Supra – a traditional Georgian feast featuring a wide array of local dishes and homemade wine. Georgian family does not need a festive reason for supra, even one guest is more than enough to arrange several hours long feast with a lot of wine and food.
Throughout the centuries, Georgian cuisine has acquired many traditions of their neighbouring countries. Today it shows the rich history of the country. The impact of the Mediterranean, Arab, Mongol, Persian and even Indian cuisine makes Georgian dishes so diverse and flavorful.
Each historical province of Georgia has its own dishes and unique culinary traditions, but overall all of them have something in common:
Khinkali is one of the most popular meat dishes in Georgian cuisine. It’s a tasty Georgian dumpling filled with minced meat and spices and traditionally eaten with hands. Those who prefer different filling can enjoy Khinkali stuffed with cheese, mushrooms, potatoes, etc.
The most iconic dish of Georgian cuisine that recently received global recognition is Khachapuri. This delicious flatbread filled with tones of cheese can be found in every region of Georgia. Each of these regions has its variant of cheese bread; it comes in different shapes and sizes. The most popular version of Khachapuri is from the Adjara region – a boat-shaped dough filled with cheese and topped with butter and raw egg yolk.
Similar to Khachapuri, there are several other stuffed bread variations in different regions of Georgia. Svaneti region has Kubdari – a bread stuffed with meat filling flavoured with onions, garlic and various spices. Lobiani comes from the Racha region, a flatbread with bean and ham filling. There is also Mkhlovani – similar flatbread from the eastern mountainous region, filled with spinach or beet leaves mixed with cheese and spices.
Pkhali is the famous Georgian vegetarian appetizer made with different sorts of vegetables incorporated with walnut paste, garlic, vinegar, fresh herbs and usually garnished with pomegranate seeds. Assorted Pkhali plate combines eggplant, cabbage, red bell pepper, spinach, and beets.
Mtsvadi: Meat barbeque is not a surprise for anyone, but still lamb, pork or veal meat on skewers is an undivided part of Georgian cuisine. The main Georgian touch on the standard barbeque is that usually, Georgians use grapevine branches as skewers. Juicy Mtsvadi with a smoky aroma is served with sliced onions and Georgian Shoti bread.
Georgian Shoti is a traditional local canoe-shaped bread baked in the clay-oven known as tone. It is always fun to watch how baker slaps raw dough against the tone wall to bake it. The taste is the best when having super fresh, taken from the hot oven.
Another kind of bread that Georgians often prepare at homes is Mchadi, made with cornflour. It can be in different size and form, but the most popular is a small round shaped Mchadi. It is served with local salty cheese. In some regions, people put cheese inside the dough before frying, and it is called Chvishtari.
Mushroom in a clay pan is another vegetarian dish from Georgian cuisine. This simple yet flavorful dish is made in traditional clay pans where mushroom heads are placed upside down, covered with cheese and baked on high heat. A combination of mushroom juice and melted cheese create delicious flavours.
Georgian cuisine features various slow-cooked meat stews like Ostri, Kharcho, and Chakapuli. Ostri and Kharcho are similarly prepared beef stews with garlic, Georgian spices and herbs, but Ostri has tomato-based sauce when Kharcho is made with walnut paste. Beef can be replaced with different kind of meats as well. Chakapuli is a spring dish prepared with lamb or veal meat, tons of fresh herbs (especially tarragon) and white wine.
Shkmeruli is a traditional chicken dish from the Racha region. It is a roasted chicken with garlic sauce served in a clay pan. Another traditional dish from this region is baked beans in a clay pot served with Mchadi and Assorted Georgian pickles.
Besides Khachapuri, people from the Samegrelo region love to use cheese in many other traditional foods. One of the most popular dishes is Elarji, prepared with coarsely milled cornmeal, corn flour and local Sulguni cheese. It is served hot while the texture is very elastic and cheesy.
Another traditional and cheesy dish from the Samegrelo region is Gebzhalia. A cheese rolls filled with mint and Nadughi (similar to cottage cheese) sauce. It is served with cornmeal porridge Ghomi that Megrelians typically eat instead of bread.
Georgian sauces Bazhe and Tkemali with their unique flavours are also very popular among foreign travellers. Bazhe sauce is made with walnuts, garlic, Georgian spices and vinegar. Tkemali is a red, green or yellow sauce made with sour plums (plums themselves are called Tkemali). Cooked Tkemali is mixed with garlic, dill, coriander, and red pepper.
Pelamushi is a traditional Georgian custard dessert served with raw walnuts. It is made with grape juice, which is thickened by corn or white flour.
Churchkhela is another traditional Georgian long-shaped candy made with walnuts or hazelnuts strung on a thread and soaked in thickened grape juice Tatara (similar to Pelamushi).
Gozinaki is a New Year’s dessert for Georgians. It is a crunchy bar made with chopped walnuts and honey cut into rhombus shapes.