Georgians had the great advantage of tasting and picking the best cooking styles of the Mongols, Turks, Greeks, and Arabs because they were sitting at the middle point of the olden East-West Silk Road trade routes. The country’s wine culture, unique cuisines and the ritual of Supra (Georgian feast) are somethings you don’t wanna miss out on. Supra is the best way to taste the delicious Georgian food and wine culture.
Let’s kick off our list of 6 must-try Georgian foods with a quote from great poet Alexander Pushkin “Every Georgian dish is a poem”
Khachapuri is by far the most popular Georgian food among the locals and the tourists. In-fact they call it the national food of Georgia. It’s a traditional Georgian dish made of bread filled with cheese in the middle, commonly the sulguni cheese. Khachapuri is served in different shapes and hence there are different variants of this dish.
Our recommended variant of Khachapuri is Khachapuri Adjaruli. Its a must-try food if you are visiting the Adjara region of Georgia, because of the fact that this particular dish originates from this region.
Adjaruli is a boat-shaped Khachapuri and baked in a brick oven. Once the bread is taken out of the oven, the baker gives the final touch to the dish: puts chunks of butter and cracks a raw egg in the middle of the bread. This Khachapuri is certainly the representation of the boat, sea, and sun as this dish is thought to be originated from the Lazi people, who were sailors.
Also read: 11 Best Places to Visit in Georgia
Adjarian khachapuri with chips and sausages © Somesh Rai / @worldnestler
Khinkali, aka Georgian soup dumpling, is a Georgian take on dumplings; dumplings traditionally filled with minced meat mixed with a variety of herbs and broth from the meat. Unlike, your usual dumplings Khinkali is boiled in water, not steamed. Thus, the meat inside the Khinkali produces a broth intact inside, making the dish soft, juicy and delicious.
The trick is to have a bite of the Khinkali and then suck out the broth without spilling it on your table and then eat the rest, leaving the knot of dough from the top.
Khinkali is also available with potato, mushroom or cheese filling. Regional differences influence the fillings and every part of Georgia has its own twist on the flavor of the filling.
Traditional soup dumplings Khinkali with Tomato and Tartar sauce © Tatiana Bralnina / 123RF.com
Mtsvadi (Pork Shashlik) is a dish of pork meat cubes on a skewer, grilled over an open flame from coal. Traditionally the choice of protein for Mtsvadi is Pork, but the present Georgian restaurants also offer Mtsvadi made from different meats.
Usually, Georgians eat Mtsvadi with tkemali, the sour plum condiment, a local specialty sauce made from sour plums. Tkemali is usually is of two varieties – red and green. Red one is usually sweeter than the green sour sauce.
Mtsvadi platter © Anialaurman / pixabay.com
It’s a vegan dish, sometimes also called as mkhali. This dish is often made with spinach, but It is also made with beets, cabbage or eggplant and served over bread. Almost any vegetable can be used depending on the season (fresh produce is preferred). Combined with crushed walnuts, minced garlic, fresh herbs for flavor, and squeeze of lemon juice, Pkhali is like a cross between a cold salad and a dip. The common ingredient of all variations of Pkhali is pureed walnut sauce.
Georgian traditional beet Pkhali © Nina Firsova / 123RF.com
The Georgian word ‘lobio’ means ‘beans’ and this popular dish lobio is made with various kinds of beans (often kidney beans) and usually eaten with its loyal sidekick mchadi, a griddled cornbread, and pickles. A bracing slurry of fried onions, cilantro, dried marigold, vinegar, and chilies is stirred into the pot just before serving which just elevates the taste to the next level.
Lobio with tomatoes © georgianrecipes.net / Wikimedia Commons
Georgian candies: Churchkhela and Tklapi
Stop at any roadside shacks selling stuff along the highways outside the town and you will find these colorful confections hanging at the front of their stall. Churchkhela and Tklapi are the very popular traditional Georgian candies.
Churchkhela, often called the Georgian ‘Snickers’, is a traditional sausage-shaped candy made with combining two of Georgia’s favorites – Grapes and nuts. It’s a colorful confection packed with protein and sugar, made by repeatedly dipping long strings of nuts in concentrated fresh grape juice.
Georgian warriors carried Churchkhela with them because of the high-calorie value of this candy.
Tklapi is actually a puréed fruit roll-up leather. Puréed fruit is spread thinly onto a sheet and sun-dried on a clothesline. Available in sweet and sour versions – the sour version is made of tart cherries and foraged plums are often used for soups and stews, while the sweet Tklapi is made of apricots or peaches is a terrific snack.
Churchkhela being sold at a shop © MaliSun / pixabay.com
Also read: Top 9 things to do in Tbilisi
Credits – Featured image: © Stanislav Makhalov / 123RF.com