Georgian cuisine is an interesting, aromatic and rich mixture of influences from Europe and the Middle East, culinary traditions that travelers carried with them during their routes between the two continents, and the unique ancient Georgian cooking style. As a result, among traditional Georgian dishes we will find heavy meat dishes, vegetarian food, and a rich and tasteful variety of cheeses, breads, soups and stews. All of it topped with mixes of spices that give every dish its special touch, sweet deserts, and large amounts of wonderful wine that will make your meal last for hours. Ready? Bon appetit, or, as Georgians would say…გაამოთ!
Pkhali –Love for Vegetables
Vegetarians or simply vegetable lovers will be satisfied by this traditional dish originated in the region of Mingrelia. It is made of chopped and minced pieces of cabbage, eggplant, spinach, beans and beets, usually combined with ground walnuts, vinegar, onions, garlic and herbs. With so many ingredients to choose, the combinations are just limited by your own taste!
Khachapuri – Better than Pizza
If you are a pizza fan (and who is not?), you definitely need to try the emblematic Georgian Khachapuri. It is made of leavened bread filled with cheese, eggs and other ingredients, depending on the type that you decide to choose. You can find lasagna-styled Khachapuris with multiple layers, and Khachapuris with different fillings such as potatoes or boiled eggs. You can also choose between the different shapes – from a circle-shaped (the most common) to a boat-shaped one. According to a study, 88% of Georgians prefer Khachapuri to pizza. Will you agree after trying it?
Kuchmachi – The Warrior’s Strength
This delicious dish is exactly what you need to regain your strength after a hard day of adventures in Georgia, just before going out into an exciting night. It is made of chicken organs such as liver, heart and gizzards, topped with tasty walnuts and fresh pomegranate seeds. Healthy and yummy at the same time, it will give you the hardiness of a Georgian warrior.
Chackapuli Soup- Between Salad, Meat and Soup
The spicy Chackapuli Soup is a seasonal dish often served during the feast of Orthodox Easter. The main ingredients of this tempting stew are lamb, white wine, and a heavy amount of tarragon leaves to make its characteristic spicy and aromatic taste. Add some onions, cherry plums and fresh herbs, and you are ready to welcome the spring like a real Georgian.
Khinkali- A Juicy Bite
Khinkali is a Georgian variety of dumplings filled with different spices, meat (which can be lamb, pork or beef), and its tasty juices, as the meat is cooked while it is inside of the dumpling. The spices used can vary from region to region, and some recipes include mushrooms, potatoes or cheese instead of meat. Top it with some black pepper and suck the juices as you take the first bite for a quick trip to foodie’s heaven. But be careful! You must eat it with your hands, as it is considered to be impolite eating the Khinkali with utensils such as forks.
Churchkhela – Not a Sausage
A good food list would never be complete without mentioning some traditional sweet candy. The Churchkhela is shaped like a sausage, but it couldn’t be more different from one: it is made from grape must, nuts and flour. The nuts are threaded onto a string, dipped into the grape juice and left to dry in the sun, which gives them their particular shape. It is usually a home-made product produced during the autumn months, when the main ingredients are harvested, but it is also served traditionally as a dessert during New Year and Christmas celebrations. Enjoy this sweet treat as much as you want, and don’t worry about your diet: the real one is sugar free!
Goznaki – A Sweet Paradise
Similar to the Churchkhela, the Goznaki is the other indispensable sweet that you need to try during your time in Georgia, especially if it is during the winter season, as it is a traditional candy mandatory for New Year’s Eve and Christmas celebrations. It is made of caramelized nuts, usually walnuts, and in case it didn’t sound candied enough, it is also fried in Georgian honey. For those with a sweet tooth, it will be love at first sight!