“Every Georgian dish is a poem.” / Alexander Pushkin – famous Russian poet /
Georgia’s unique food is a gourmet treat for every visitor, from vegetarian dishes to sumptuous feasts, prepared with secret spices and rare ingredients, Georgian cuisine offers something for everybody.
Rich, savory, piquant, strikingly original and very specific to the country, Georgian Cuisine is the natural extension of a fertile, mineral-rich landscape fed by the pure waters of the Caucasus Mountains. The cuisine offers a variety of dishes, high in herbs and spices, a variety of vegetarian meals in addition to meat dishes: organic fresh meats like pork or lamb, chicken or fish dishes, hazelnuts and walnuts, various sorts of cheese, pickles and pungent seasonings, eggplant, plums, corn, pomegranates, kidney beans, wild herbs, coriander, scallions, hot peppers, mint, basil, love of garlic and much, much more fill homes and restaurants all around the country. When you find yourself at a Georgian dinner table, know that people go to dinner to enjoy themselves and the company. Georgians get energetic and lively during dinner. The host will probably ask you a bunch of questions and offer you several items, to make sure you are well-fed and comfortable. There will be a multitude of dishes, so you should try your best to taste them all. You will probably be offered additional helpings when you finish your food, so take small portions. You should keep your hands visible and elbows off the table. Usually, the most elderly or honored guest will be served first at dinner. Finish all the food on your plate, and drink your toasts – if you can!
Here are some of Georgian dishes:
Khinkali. The Georgian National dish: juicy meat dumplings made to be eaten by hand, using a special technique that can be learned only here. Noaways in Georgian restaurants’ menu, besides original khinkali with meat filling as well you’ll find khinkali stuffed with cheese, curd or potatoes. Though they are as well delicious and good choice for vegetarians – they are not original.
Mtsvadi. Georgian barbeque, meat grilled to perfection over a grape vine-wood fire, with fresh pomegranate juice or Tkemali squeezed over it.
Chakapuli. Meat (traditionally lamb but it can be changed by beef) stew prepared with fresh tarragon leaves, what gives strong, original flavor.
Chakhokhbili. Brasied chicken chops in tomatoes and various herbs sauce. As well this dish can be made with pork, lamb or beef. By the way its name comes from the Georgian word “khokhobi” which means “pheasant,” indicating its true origins.
Satsivi. Chicken or Turkey in a walnut sauce with garlic and spices, almost like Indian food.
Chkmeruli. Roasted Chicken, served in garlic and matsoni (a dairy product) sauce.
Pkhali. Vegetarian dishes from a variety of plants (spinach, beetroots, cabbage), usually with a walnut paste base but each having a unique taste and seasoning.
Badrijani Nigvzit. Eggplants seasoned with ground walnuts, vinegar (or pomegranate juice), garlic, pomegranate seeds and spices.
Adjabsandali. A delicious blend of fried eggplants, onions, peppers, tomatoes and mountain spices.
Lobio. Bean stew prepared with various spices, vinegar and/or olive oil, sometimes with walnuts or smoked ham (Racheuli lobio) a peasant favorite, this is a dish everyone must try.
Soko. Mushrooms prepared in various ways, seasoned with spices and herbs. Soko sulgunit – mushrooms stuffed with soft cheese – sulguni.
Bread. Traditional Georgian breads are baked in a large well-shaped oven called tone, while bread itself commonly is called puri but in different regions can be called shoti, lavash.
Mchadi. Cornbread. Can be small and thick fried in oil, or thin and wide with crunchy surface. Goes well with cheese.
Khachapuri. Georgian cheese bread, appearing in a number of regional styles: Imeruli khachapuri or Imeretian khachapuri, Adjaruli khachapuri and Megruli khachapruri being the most popular.
Lobiani. ”Bean khachapuri”, bread baked with a seasoned bean stuffing and aromatic spices. Especially eaten on the Georgian holiday of Barbaroba, or St. Barbara’s Day (December 17)
Tsotskhali. A freshly prepared fish from a freshwater source.
Tevzi Bazheshi. A fish served in walnuts sauce – bazhe.
Tkhemali. Georgian ketchup, but oh so much more… A red or green sour plum sauce made from the fruit of the tkemali tree. No one leaves the country without a bottle.
Bazhe. Ground walnut sauce with garlic and spices. Great with everything.
Ajika. Georgia’s own spicy hot sauce filled with herbs, garlic and spices.
Nadughi. A dairy product similar to cottage cheese, but with a softer taste.
Matsoni. A dairy product similar to plain yogurt, but somewhat more sour.
Cheese. Various of sorts.
Chikhirtma. Tender chicken soup with eggs whipped in vinegar and the transparent light meat broth flavored with garlic, parsley and fennel.
Khashi. A broth cooked from beef entrails (legs, stomach, udder, pieces of head, bones) and lavishly seasoned with garlic – known as a cure for even the most fiendish hangover.
Churchkhela. Walnuts on a thread dipped into a hot grape mixture, then hung to solidify.
Gozinaki. Traditional Georgian confection made of caramelized nuts, usually walnuts, fried in honey, and served exclusively on New Year’s Eve and Christmas.
Apart from alcoholic drinks chacha and wine, in Georgia you will find tasty lemonades of pear, lemon, cream, grapes, oranges, peach or extraordinary tarragon taste, and of-course various types of mineral water – Borjomi, Nabeglavi, Racha, Sairme and etc.