Georgian eating

Georgian eating


Eating is probably one of the most representative expressions of Georgia’s culture. Food here is inextricably linked to friendship and feast, to sharing and celebrating. This is why serving sizes are always disproportionately big and why you would find it difficult to spot single tables in Georgian restaurants.
This way to understand eating finds its most symbolic from in the supra, a typical Georgian feast that perfectly represents Georgian festive, cheerful and noisy character. In a supra, endless amounts of wine and food are served. So much that whenever there is no room left on the table, dishes accumulate on top of each other. Supras are always led by a tamada, someone respected and honored that masters the toasts.
Food and wine are a matter of pride for Georgians. Iranian, Turkish and Russian influences can be found in Georgian gastronomy; still it has managed to remain unique and full of personality. This cuisine, a beguiling mix of the exotic and the familiar, owns its flamboyance of tastes to the country’s fertile soil, mild climate and pure waters of the Caucasus Mountains.
Fruits and vegetables are of an extraordinary tanginess and freshness, and make perfect salads and garnishes for pork, beef and lamb dishes. Meat is undoubtedly the protagonist in Georgian cuisine, with fish being used seldom. Some attempts are being made in order to introduce more sea products in the diet, but truth be told, Georgian’s pride in their deeply rooted cuisine makes such changes difficult.
Eating out at local taverns is, for Georgians, an everyday thing. Let’s not forget that prices at most Georgian restaurants are rather cheap. One can enjoy typical dishes such as Kinkhali, Khachapuri or delicious salads at very reasonable prices. With hearty meals and wine by the liter.


Typical dishes


Kinkhali


For Georgians, eating these hot dumplings is an art. The meat filling is raw when the Kinkhali is assembled, so when cooked the meat’s juices are trapped inside. To eat, one must use the top as a handle and suck the juices while taking the first bite (the “handle” is not meant to be eaten). Eating them without making a mess it’s an art that makes expert Kinkhali eaters proud! They are made with a variety of fillings: in the mountains, for example, the choice is usually ground lamb, but elsewhere the filling more often is a mixture of beef or pork.

 ხინკალი1  nrubf

 


Khachapuri


It translates literally as “cheese bread”. There are many variations of this “Georgian pizza” but there are some defining characteristics. One is that the cheese filling is made with Sulguni, a Georgian cheese with a texture like mozzarella but whose flavour is much sourer. The cheese is grated and mixed with eggs, so the resulting texture of the filling is very gooey and super rich. These “cheese pies” can be found virtually everywhere and can make for a tasty, and cheap, street snack – just follow your nose or look for a crowd of people around a window on the street: chances are this will be a khachapuri hotspot. There are several varieties but the most extravagant is the “Ajaruli Khachapuri” (from the Ajara region around Batumi). Which is a like a boat-shaped ‘pizza with an egg and a hunk of butter added just before serving. Beware: along with being a tasty mass of cholesterol it is also very messy!

xxachapuri  xachapuri 

Lobio


A rich dish consisting of well-cooked red beans prepared with minced onions and herbs

lobioo
Khashi


A soup created from beef entrails (legs, stomach, udder, pieces of head, bones) and lavishly seasoned with garlic, khashi is typically served very early in the morning, although now more and more places offer “khashi for lazy people” for those who don’t fancy tripe at five in the morning. Khashi in Tbilisi serves the same purpose as onion soup in France or menudo in Mexico: these dishes are usually eaten by workers to make themselves stronger and by revelers to cure their hangovers. 

xashi


Tkemali


Tkemali is the universal condiment in Georgia. It can be used with meats, vegetables or to flavour soups and stews. It is made from plums and its flavour varies between sweet and pungently tart. Traditionally the following ingredients are used besides plum: garlic, cilantro, dill, cayenne, salt and pepper.

tkemali