Georgian Cuisine

Picturesque landscapes, valleys, mountains, old churches, monuments, palaces, fortresses and other sightseeing destinations are the things that attract tourists and encourage them to visit a certain country. They give information about political, social and cultural life of the nation, but there are some other thing that are as interesting as the abovementioned ones. One of such impressive issues might be a cuisine.

Georgian Feast by Niko Pirosmani
Indeed, Georgian traditional dishes are very delicious and made of diverse ingredients: cheese, meat, fish, vegetables, different herbs/greens, spices, dough, etc. Georgian feast (supra) is abundant and distinguished by variety of dishes. There are some dishes which are characteristic only for a certain region of Georgia; others are popular in all over the country. For example, there are many versions of Khachapuri – Imeruli, Mgeruli, Acharuli, Guruli, Penovani and so on. They have different shapes and cooking rules, although some of main ingredients are the same: dough, cheese, egg. Preference to a certain kind of khachapuri depends on the personal taste. I like Imeruli most of all and really miss in the United States.

Here you can learn how to cook Khachapuri:

Some of the foods are served on special occasions. You will seldom find Satsivi on the everyday menu of a regular Georgian family. Mostly they cook it for a New Year or other very grand events. Lobiani is not so rare. It is beans baked inside the dough. You can find it any café/ restaurant, although there is one special day when you MUST taste it – St. Barbara’s day on December 17.

 

Khinkali

 

Khinkali has a very interesting history. Once northern Caucasians abducted a young man from Georgian highlands. He spent many months in the dungeon, but at least he could escape. After a long and risky way he returned home. He was very hungry, but because of past hardships he did not have teeth. That’s why he could not chew meals. So the sister chopped meat, put into the dough and boiled. After that Khinkali became popular among the mountain people and later – in all over the Georgia.

Other popular foods are the following: Kharcho, Qababi, Mtsvadi (Shashlik), Chaqapuli, soups with different ingredients (meat, vegetables, Matsoni (Georgian Yogurt, made of pure milk), mushroom, eggplant with walnuts, jonjoli,  fish. The latter one is necessary attribute of any Supra – both for joyful or sorrowful occasions (weddings, funerals, birthday parties). Georgians cook fish in different ways: fry, boil, season with wine, walnuts, vegetables and so on.

Pkhaleuli –is a vegetarian food, made of different herbs. They are seasoned with greens, oil and additional ingredients.

Bread

As I already mentioned in my previous post, Georgian bread is very unique. I’ve never seen so delicious bread as Georgian one. Neither Armenian Lavash, nor American bread had the same aroma. These special feelings may come to me from my childhood, when I spent time on Tone (traditional Georgian Bakery) with my grandma. While were waiting for breads, neighbors used to come and bring food: beans, salads, pickles, cheese, some wine. I remember their conversations, warmth of the place. Grandmother used to bake in the certain order: she started with Lavashi. They were triangle-shaped bread, and they had to be odd number: 1, 3 or 5. Then she continued with longer-shaped ones – Shoti or Dedas Puri. Baking process lasted for several hours, and we enjoyed these time together. Sometimes we invited passer-byes and dialogues became more passionate. Elders shared new information and discussed various topics. In short, Tone was not only a bakery, but also a place of socialization.

 

Tone in the village

 

 

I also remember Basila – special kind of bread. Grandma used to bake it is special occasions. It had man’s shape and intended to be made only for boys. I think it came from pagan traditions, and had lost its real mystic or religious meaning. It might symbolize strength or magic power of the man. But in my childhood it caused only joy among the kids.

I really miss Qada – sweet bread. My grandma mixed sugar and a little oil in the dough. Sometimes she added other ingredients. Sometimes she put this mixture inside pastry and it was even more delicious.

Beverages:

Lagidze Water

Most of the Georgians are social drinkers. Wine and Chacha are the most popular alcohol drinks. From the non-alcoholic drinks Georgia is famous with Lagidze Water. It was named after Mitrofane Lagidze,  well-known Georgian pharmacist. He created this special water at the end of World War II. He had plants in Tbilisi and Kutaisi, where he produced natural juices. So when Stalin tasted Coca Cola, he wished to create same kind of drink for soviet people. He asked Mitrophane Lagidze to do it, as he had long term experience and amazing taste. As a result, Lagidze Water appeared even better than Cola. Mitrophane used fresh fruits to ensure highest quality of his products. Tradition still goes on and Lagidze Water now is exported in several countries. Here is its Facebook page.

There also are many mineral waters in Georgia. The most famous ones are Borjomi, Likani, Nabeglavi, Sairme. They come from natural springs and are good for the health.

On the bilingual (Georgian-English language) blog – From Georgia with Love you will learn how to cook Georgian dishes with American Ingredients.

Here is other website for Georgian Cuisine – with 37 recipes of the popular Georgian food. Try it and let me know how you liked.

An interesting reflection of Georgian Supra by American teacher.

If you have any favorite dish or cuisine, feel free to share its “cooking secrets”. They will also be interesting for me.

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3 responses to “Georgian Cuisine

  1. Hi Salome, welcome here 🙂 Thank you for comment. I hope you’ll share even more news and cooking tips 🙂

  2. zhazira turlanbekova

    Your website reminded me my short trip to Georgia. I want to go there again. Teflis is really beautiful city which is located on the feet of hills. It is very green with amazing churches. I love the design how rived Kura is flowing in the middle of city. I love Georgian kitchen and can cook little bit. U you-tube is useful lesson how to cook hachapuri. I will make it one day with Ulvya.

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