The national Georgian cuisine is one of the main attractions of the country. The local dishes here are so various delicious and appetizing that no one will be able to remain indifferent. Just one warning: if you are on a diet or prefer vegetarian low-calorie food we wish you courage to overcome all the temptations that you will face in Georgia.
What concerns noisy Georgian feasts they have already become the integral part of the national culture. If you have a chance to take part in one of them you will definitely leave with lots of vivid impressions.
So, what are the main features of Georgian cuisine and which dishes are the most popular?
Georgian National Cuisine: General characteristics
Georgian cuisine is characterized by the contrast of spicy and hot. Another distinctive feature is the abundance of various meat dishes – it is difficult to imagine Georgian table without them. Therefore, they say that in Georgia it is simply impossible to be a vegetarian. In fact, vegetable dishes are also widely spread in the country. They are cooked as a side dish for meat and fish or as a separate dish.
The other feature of the national cuisine here is the extensive use of walnuts and greens both fresh and dried (cilantro, basil, tarragon, savory). Walnuts are added to dressings, sauces, soups, meat, and bakery products.
Traditionally, the national Georgian cuisine can be divided into two parts: eastern and western. The western one has been historically influenced by Turkey. Here the most preferred meat dishes are prepared from poultry – chicken and turkey. As bread they locals have corn tortillas – mchadi – which perfectly go together with the local national cheese – suluguni. As a snack for strong alcohol drinks the locals prefer sweet churchkhela and fruits. Western Georgia is also known for its soft unsalted cheese – suluguni and imeruli.
The eastern cuisine has been exposed to Iranian influence. Here, in contrast to the western one the most common meat dishes are prepared of beef and lamb. For bread preparation locals use wheat flour. For strong alcohol drinks the most common snack here is marinated or pickled vegetables. What concerns the local cheese the region is known for its salty sorts kobiyski, tushinski, Georgian.
In the capital of Georgia, Tbilisi, are intertwined both western and eastern cuisine traditions. The most “delicious” regions of western Georgia is considered Adjara and Samegrelo. For example, Samegrelo is famous for its spices which are purchased from here for the whole country.
Georgian National Cuisine: Popular dishes
Starters and Snacks
As a starter, Georgians often serve dishes of lobio (beans) and eggplants. For example, no tableful will be complete without tasty eggplant rolls with nuts and garlic. No less popular is vegetable pate pkhali (mostly from spinach).
Among hot snacks we should note kuchmachi, which is prepared from chicken gizzards and walnut sauce, and is served on ketsi (special pottery, which allows to keep all the taste of the dish).
As an appetizer, Georgians also always serve pickles mzhaveuli (green peppers, green tomatoes, cabbage), as well as different varieties of a national cheese.
Georgian soups are rather dense and thick. This consistency is achieved by the addition of eggs or egg yolks mixed with the acidic medium to prevent egg mass from clotting during the heating. The most popular Georgian soup which is also widely popular in Russia is a soup kharcho. Also known are chihrtma, hashi and shechamanda.
Of course, one of the most common and popular meat dishes in Georgia is khinkali. This tasty pouches filled with minced meat resemble a little Russian dumplings. They are served with black pepper and are eaten only with hands. First you should bite the pouch and drink the hot broth then eat the whole khinkali.
During the trip to Georgia, you should also try Georgian barbecue (mtsvadi), odzhahuri, chanakhi, chakapuli.
Among poultry dishes, the most popular are chicken tabaka , and chakhokhbili.
The most common bread in Georgia is shotis puri and tonis puri. It is baked in a special traditional oven – tone. As bread Georgians also serve corn tortillas mchadi already mentioned above.
Among the hot snacks, we should note kuchmachi, which is made from chicken gizzards and walnut sauce, and is served on ketsi (special pottery which allows to keep all the taste of the dish).
Various sauces and dressings have a special place in Georgian cuisine. The meat is often served with sour sauces such as for example, tkemali, prepared from sour plums with the addition of spices and garlic.
The other favorite sauce to meat or fish is bazhi – spicy sauce with nuts and garlic.
White boiled fish is often served with kindz-dzmari the preparation of which is rather simple: just mix the chopped cilantro, salt, and vinegar.
Undoubtedly, the most common, favorite salty cake in Georgia is khachapuri– cheese tortilla already known throughout the world. There are lots of varieties of khachapuri – imeruli, ajaruli with egg, megruli and other.
There are also cakes with beans – lobiani and meat – kubdari.
Sweet teeth are recommended to try kozinaki (crunchy bar made of honey and nuts), churchkhela (sweet “sausage” with nuts and grape juice), pie kada and pelamushi – pudding of grape juice.
Georgia is famous for its ancient traditions of wine production. Georgian wine had become famous in many parts of the world. The most famous varieties of red wines are “Kindzmarauli”, “Saperavi”, “Hvanchkara”, “Mukuzani”, and among whites – “Tsinandali”, “Tvishi”.
We also recommend trying delicious Georgian lemonades and mineral water “Borjomi”, “Nabeglavi”, “Sairme”, “Likani”.