Going to Georgia, travelers usually prepare themselves to enjoy khachapuri, lobio, khinkali and, of course, a variety of meat barbecues, which are called “mtsvadi” in Georgian. Advanced experts in Georgian cuisine leave some free space in the stomach for pkhali, eggplants in walnut sauce, chakhokhbili and kharcho. However, our compact country has such a rich variety of regional dishes, that even if you decide to try one new for breakfast, lunch and dinner, you will need more than several weeks to explore the whole treasury.
Let’s take a little journey through the regions of Georgia and see what they can offer!
Starting with the West Coast… Well, Ajarian cuisine can really be described as “cheese rolling in butter”. Locals prepare very tasty and high-calorie meals. One of them is sinori, gentle rolls made of thin dough baked with matsoni/yoghurt and butter. Sinori can be eaten for breakfast – especially if you days is promising to be busy – or for a heavy family dinner.
Another calorie bomb from Ajara is called borano. It is made of Adjarian cheese melted in butter. Be prepared: it will be difficult to leave the table after you are finished!
Samegrelo, another Western Black Sea region of Georgia, is famous for the fact that its inhabitants prefer very spicy food. Megrelian adjika sauce is so sharp that Chuck Norris himself would probably cry, having tried it. If we talk about dishes, the most significant for the region are gebzhalia and elarji. Elarji is polenta brewed from corn flour with suluguni cheese inside. This heavy delicious dish should served hot!
Gebzhalia is a starter, delicate rolls with fresh cheese and mint in matsoni/yogurt sauce. It just melts inside your mouth, and is contrasting to those extremely spicy dishes and sauces that are served after.
From Samegrelo it is logical to climb higher into the mountains – to Upper Svaneti. This fabulously beautiful region with harsh living conditions is famous first of all for its special seasoning – Svan salt. Common salt is mixed with local spices in a special wooden mortar, and thus turns into slightly moist flavorful spice that can be used with salads, as well as with meat and fish.
Typical Svanetian pastry is kubdari, a tortilla stuffed with meat. In such difficult living conditions as there, meat filling is an excellent source of calories, and tortilla format is a convenient option for takeaway eating. The shepherds take kubdari as they travel to pastures, and eat them during a long time there.
Another traditional Svan pastry is chishdvari (down the mountains, in the rest of Georgia it is called “chvishtari”). It is made from corn flour, and keeps a piece of suluguni cheese inside. Chishdvari is especially tasty, as it’s taken just from a pan, and you eat it looking at the highest peaks of Georgia – let’s say, Shkhara – and breathe fresh air at an altitude of over 2,000 meters.
The first part of our culinary journey through the regions of Georgia is about to end now. Nevertheless, there is still a lot of interesting stuff for you! Stay tuned with Georgia and Travel!