We like to provide our guests with a brief introduction to Georgian traditional cuisine. There are five key elements of Georgian supra (table) we want to familiarize you with in expectation of your exciting trip to Georgia:
Churchkhela – A kind of “Georgian energy bar” consisting of walnuts on a string covered with grape juice. Dating back from ancient times this food was the primary snack for Georgian warriors and travelers in the common absence of a proper field kitchen. Nowadays, Churchkhela has become a famous desert, often served after meals at the Georgian table. Our company offers master classes in the cooking homemade Churchkela on many of our tour programs.
Pkhali – an enticing mix of various vegetables, greens, mashed walnuts or hazelnuts and spices. This is the most common vegetarian meal one will find on the Georgian table. Phkhali is made everywhere in Georgia but western Georgian regions are particularly well known for making delicious Pkhali. Other, more unique variations include spinach, beetroot and leek, making Pkhali a delicious, nutritious, and varied dish.
Khachapuri – Possibly the most famous of Georgian dishes, these cheese pies are very similar to Italian calzone, but simply filled with regional, distinctively Georgian cheeses. There are many types of Khachapuri –it varies from region to region. The most famous are probably the West Georgian variaitons. The most basic form (cheese inside, surrounded by cooked dough) is the Imeretian, whereas the Megrelian Khachapuri has additional cheese on the top. The most sophisticated (and most decadent) of Khachapuri comes from the Ajara region. One of the Ajaran variations, known as Ajaran Khachapuri, look like a small boat made of dough and is filled with cheese, slices of butter, and eggs. Achma-makarina is another variation that looks very similar to Italian lasagna but comes only with cheese.
Sulguni – Georgian cheese varieties are extremely diverse, however Sulguni is among the best of Georgian cheese varieties very similar to Italian Mozzarella cheese. We frequently use this cheese for food and wine pairing classes. Our tours are never without some Sulguni on our table.
Khinkali – dumpling made of meat and dough and one of the primary traditional dishes of mountainous Georgians. Meat used in Khinkali is usually beef or lamb, but other varieties also can be found (pork is particularly popular in urban variations of the dish). Vegetarian variety of Khinkali is made with mushrooms. Khinkali is almost always served with spicy black pepper and unlike most Georgian dishes, the drink paired with Khinkali most often is beer, not wine.