Georgian Cuisine

Diversity and Taste

Nothing tells you more about the spirit and culture of a country than its cuisine. For two millennia, Georgia was an important milestone on the ancient Silk Trade Routes. Its traditional cuisine borrows many flavors and aromas from the culinary traditions of those who traded, invaded, and sought refuge there. Georgian cuisine is one of the best in the world for its diversity and taste. It is simply fantastic!

Authenticity

A National Treasure

Recipes from the eastern parts of the country reflect Iran and Asia’s cuisine, while the cuisine of the western part integrates more Turkish and Mediterranean flavors. Each region has cultivated its own culinary traditions that have been refined over the centuries and have contributed to its culinary identity. Traditional Georgian dishes based on meats, raw or cooked vegetables, herbs, and spices are made of their precise combinations, attract you first with their colors, and surprise you with their unique tastes. Finally, it all ends with a gastronomic shock.

Fresh, Light, and Varied

Healthy and Intense

The secret of this taste is the land of Georgia: fertile and rich in minerals, fed by the pure waters of the Caucasus mountains and sunny at least 300 days a year, the land of Georgia sublimates all the products that are used to create unique, delicious and organic Georgian dishes. Khachapuri (Georgian cheese bread), Pkhaleuli (vegetarian dishes based on various plants and spicy vegetables), Satsivi (chicken with nuts, garlic, and spices), Khinkali (large ravioli filled with meat, mushrooms or cheese), Mtsvadi (meat barbecue grilled over a vine stock fire with laurel and freshly squeezed pomegranate juice), Churchkhela (nuts dipped in a hot grape paste, it is the Georgian national dessert).

Georgian cuisine impresses with its freshness and intensity. It is authentic, natural, and is considered one of the healthiest in the world.

The Supra Experience

Georgian Feast

Supra is the traditional – and often extravagant – Georgian meal widely considered the center of Georgian social life. Much more than a celebration, it is an ancient tradition, a religious rite, and a national identity all at the same time. There is a Supra for each of the essential life stages – at births and birthdays, returns, weddings, and funerals. This tradition has built the Georgian community, identity, and spirituality over generations. Among these rites, the presence of a Tamada, the Master of Ceremonies, who leads the toasts around which the Supra revolves, is perhaps the most essential of all.

The Tamada

More Than Food

Traditionally, a Tamada has to be eloquent, intelligent, and quick-witted, with a good sense of humor. Often, some of the guests will try to compete with him for the composition of the toasts. At the Georgian table, a Tamada is considered to help bridge the gap between past, present, and future. He makes toasts to ancestors and descendants and other guests by evoking the community’s spirits and the shared culture. At the very beginning of each Supra, the Tamada makes the first toast to the Motherland, Georgia, and then a toast to God. Then, the Tamada offers a toast to those considered closest to the Divine: the guests.

Guest is a Gift

Hospitality in Georgia

In Georgia, the guest of the Home is an honor. Nothing is guarded or hidden. Nobody says: we have nothing, and we keep what we have for ourselves. The table must be full. The glasses are overflowing. Bring light, warmth, and music to the guest! Supra is a tradition that warms the heart, and its food fills the soul.” Andrea Jeska.

Above all, Georgian culture honors hospitality. The guest is a gift from God,” says the Georgian proverb, “he enjoys the highest status, and the trust placed in him is unlimited. Generations of Georgian families have passed on this tradition of respecting guests and celebrating their duties as hosts. These values form the basis of Georgian culture. Chardin, Dumas, Pasternak, Pushkin, Lermontov, Hamsun, Laurens van der Post, Steinbeck, and all these great travelers-adventurers report on these extraordinary events on the way they were welcomed by the Georgians.

The Georgian Table

You Shall Not Surrender

The sight of the Supra’s table almost killed us. It was about fourteen feet long. It was loaded with dishes and about twenty guests. It was the only meal we ever had where the fried chicken was a starter, and each starter was half a chicken. And the most terrible thing about it was that everything tasted delicious. The flavors were all new, and we wanted to try everything. And we almost died because we surrendered”. John Steinbeck, A Banquet in the Colchis, 1948

A Deluge of Flavors

1001 Recipes

As the supra goes on, one toast follows another. Each round begins with a toast of the Tamada, who empties his glass. Guests are expected to follow the movement and make their own toast on the master of ceremonies’ theme. Meanwhile, the dishes appear – from herb salads, khachapuri (cheese bread) to roasted meats.

The Georgian table at the Supra impresses with an incredible range of different dishes. The menu consists of about five courses with at least seven different starters (an odd number for sad events, an even number for happy ones). The plates are piled up as the Supra unfolds, if possible cleverly, in front of the guests, who should be able to eat the food of their choice without having to leave their seats. Desserts, fruit, cakes, and pies complete the fragile construction built up throughout the supra.

Smooth or Spicy

Authentic Cuisine

Georgians are a traditional people. And so is Georgian cuisine. It has hardly changed at all over the last few centuries. Without comparison with any other in the world, Georgian cuisine is delicate and spicy. It uses many spices, a myriad of spices, unique mixtures, bright colors, fine sweet-sour. Georgian cuisine is an explosion of tastes and colors. Traditionally, the spices are ground in a mortar immediately before preparation because this is where pure chemistry happens: they heat up and open up the tastes.

Fresh Herbs are Important

Fifty Shades of Green

In addition to spices, aromatic white wine vinegar and fresh herbs growing in the mountains play a significant role. They are the basis of many dishes: wild thyme, tarragon, dill, flat-leaf parsley, young celery, garlic or onion, red basil, and among them all, coriander is the queen. Unlike African or Chinese coriander, Georgian coriander has a beautiful and discreet aroma and is too juicy. And used raw or cooked in many dishes.

Decorated Starters

Tastes and Colors

The delicate appetizers, decorated with pomegranate seeds, are a feast for the eyes. Peppers cooked with a spicy nut filling, Tolma stuffed with colorful and juicy vegetables rolled in a vine leaf, the Pkhali is an institution. Pkhali is a cold starter made from cooked and chopped vegetables mixed with nuts and a drizzle of white wine vinegar or lemon vinegar and spices. They come in all colors, pink from beetroot, green from spinach, white for cabbage, and orange from carrots. Depending on the season, it can be made with leeks or nettle. They are served in small patties, a bit like a form of sushi, and sprinkled with fresh pomegranate seeds.

The tomato and cucumber salad with walnuts seasoned with Khakheti sunflower oil with its distinctive and unique taste is a beautiful combination! As well as Ajapsandali, hot aubergines in tomato or nut sauce. Mushrooms are also used a lot in soup or cooked on Ketsi (terracotta dish) directly on embers, plain or stuffed with melted cheese.
“Everything is super fresh! I don’t look for herbs because of the way they look. I need freshness and taste. Fresh coriander, sunflower oil, and a little lemon juice give freshness, salt, and now, we add the nuts. All the Georgian ingredients are there. Light and elegant!” A Georgian chef

Katchapuri

The Legendary

Khachapuri, the cheese bread, is known to create a quasi dependency on those who taste it. Hot as embers, oozing cheese and butter, and made with love, it is a pleasure that will not soon be forgotten as many consider khachapuri to be the national dish of Georgia.The recipe is simple. Let the dough rise. Then shape it.

Fill it with mountain cheese and bake it in the oven until it puffs and bubbles. The rind is removed, dipped in the cheese in the center, and eaten. There are almost as many variations of khachapuri as there are regions in Georgia. However, the most common come from Iméréti, a circular version, and Adjara, shaped like an oblong boat to which a raw egg and extra butter are added just before serving.

Khinkali

Georgia's Favorite Dish

Considered by many to be Georgia’s other national dish, Khinkali is a large ravioli stuffed with meat and spices. The most common stuffing is a juicy mixture of beef and pork seasoned with coriander, chili, and onion. Khinkali can also be stuffed with cheese mixed with cottage cheese or mushrooms. Khinkali are traditionally eaten directly with the hands. It is an essential experience of the country’s culinary culture.

Meat's Lovers

For Amateurs

Meat plays a vital role in Georgian cuisine. Beef, poultry, pork, and lamb are prepared in various stews, roasts, and barbecues basted with pomegranate juice. These rustic soups and stews make for great meals all by themselves: Chikhirtma (lemon chicken soup), Kharcho (meat and vegetable soup), Georgian mothers have all their secrets, treasures of tastes that will suit everyone.

A wide range of dried herbs is used to give a unique flavor to these typical dishes, including barberry, bay leaf, caraway, cardamom, celery seed, cinnamon, clove, coriander, Greek fennel, and pepper. Marigold, the “yellow flower”, is used as a substitute for saffron’s flavor and color.

The Fish

Of Course

Except for areas along the Black Sea coast, fish selection in Georgia is limited to trout, salmon, sturgeon, and other river fish. The fish is prepared simply grilled or roasted with lemon or classic Georgian nut or pomegranate sauce. In Batumi, the large Black Sea port, the choice is more expansive, especially with different seabream species, including the famous Barabulka, which are usually fried.
A Thousand Cheeses

The Other Land Of Cheese

Except for areas along the Black Sea coast, fish selection in Georgia is limited to trout, salmon, sturgeon, and other river fish. The fish is prepared simply grilled or roasted with lemon or classic Georgian nut or pomegranate sauce. In Batumi, the large Black Sea port, the choice is more expansive, especially with different seabream species, including the famous Barabulka, which are usually fried.

Bread

Essential

The food seems infinite in the supra, not to mention the mountains of bread and the wine jugs always full. Traditional Bread, made from various cereals and in different shapes, has a special meaning on the Georgian table. Still mainly baked in traditional well-shaped ovens, often from your host’s own grain, The Tonis Puri (literally “bread cooked in the oven”) is highly appreciated. Apart from the infinite effort behind its creation, bread is the fundamental element of Georgian culinary culture. When a table is set up, the bread is in the middle and the other dishes are grouped around it in a circle.

The Sauces

Fruity or Zesty

Adjika and Tkhemali are the two most emblematic sauces of Georgian cuisine. The first comes from the subtropical mountain region of Mingreli on the Black Sea coast. Adjika is a sauce made from hot peppers and delicate spices. It is an important part of Mingrelian cuisine and is consumed all over Georgia. Tkhemali is a plum-based sauce. Black, yellow, green, its tangy taste mainly accompanies grilled meats and potatoes.
Oils

Sunny Oils

Georgian cuisine is unique in its use of groundnuts as an essential cooking ingredient. Besides, traditional recipes use divine Kakheti sunflower oil and corn oil.

The Pickles

Tangy

On every Georgian table – and in every market – there is an exceptional place for these foods marinated in apple vinegar. Garlic heads, green tomatoes, cucumbers and gherkins, aubergines, and Jonjoli (shoots from a local bush) are trendy and eaten in large quantities.

Desserts

Sweet & Delicious

Apart from the succulent organic fruit, bursting with sunshine and sugar, desserts are welcome to round off the meal. Among the many recipes for pies and cakes are Chrianteli (cold fruit soup), Matsoni (made with sweet, sour yogurt and herbs), Gozinakhi (crunchy bar with honey and nuts), Churchkhela (walnut or hazelnut skewers dipped in warm grape paste), Kada (butter biscuits) and Pelamushi (delicate pudding made of grape juice and corn flour) are the most typical desserts of the Georgian culinary tradition.

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