Rich, savoury, piquant, strikingly original and very specific to the country, Georgian Cuisine is the natural extension of a fertile, mineral-rich landscape fed by the pure waters of the Caucasus Mountains. The cuisine offers a variety of dishes, high in herbs and spices, a variety of vegetarian meals in addition to meat dishes: organic fresh meats like pork or lamb, chicken or fish dishes, hazelnuts and walnuts, various sorts of cheese, pickles and pungent seasonings eggplant, plums, corn, pomegranates, kidney beans, wild herbs, coriander, scallions, hot peppers, mint, basil, love of garlic and much, much more fill homes and restaurants all around the country. The cuisine is very varied with different dishes cooked daily. Each historical province of Georgia has its own distinct culinary tradition, such as Megrelian, Kakhetian, or Imeretian cuisines. "Every Georgian dish is a poem,” – would say Alexander Pushkin. Combined with the traditional secrets of the chef ‘s art the common products do acquire a special taste and aroma, which make Georgian cuisine very popular and unique.
With such an abundance of delicious food and wine, over the centuries Georgia has developed a strong tradition of table culture. The spirit of open-handed, huge-hearted generosity and Georgian hospitality is nowhere better displayed than at the table during a feast, or Supra, when a huge assortment of dishes is prepared, always accompanied by large (sometimes endless supply) amounts of wine, “last-for-hours” dinner and lead by Tamada (toastmaker) – an important and honoured person. You will never go hungry in Georgia, and with Georgians love of toasting you certainly won't go thirsty either.
When you find yourself at a Georgian dinner table, know that people go to dinner to enjoy themselves and the company. The Georgians get energic and lively during dinner. The host will probably ask you a bunch of questions and offer you several items, to make sure you are well-fed and comfortable. There will be a multitude of dishes, so you should try your best to taste them all. You will probably be offered additional helpings when you finish your food, so take small portions. You should keep your hands visible and elbows off the table. Usually, the most elderly or honored guest will be served first at dinner. Finish all the food on your plate.
Just a few of the dishes unique to Georgia:
Khaja-puri – Georgian cheese bread, appearing in a number of regional styles: Imeruli khachapuri or Imeretian khachapuri, Adjaruli khachapuri etc.
Lobiani - "Bean khachapuri", bread baked with a seasoned bean stuffing and aromatic spices. Especially eaten on the Georgian holiday of Barbaroba, or St. Barbara’s Day (December 17)
Pkhaleuli - Vegetarian dishes from a variety of spiced plants usually with a walnut paste base, similar to spinach, but each having a unique taste and seasoning. Among these are: Jijilaka, Moloqa, and Ekala.
Ispanakhi - Spinach with ground walnut seasoning, spices and herbs
Badrijani Nigvzit- Eggplants seasoned with ground walnuts, vinegar (or pomegranate juice), garlic, pomegranate seeds and spices.
Adjabsandali – A delicious blend of fried eggplants, onions, peppers, tomatoes and mountain spices
Nadughi - A dairy product similar to cottage cheese, but with a softer taste.
Lobio- Beans prepared with ground walnuts, various spices, vinegar and/or olive oil.
Mchadi - Cornbread. Can be small and thick fried in oil, or thin and wide with crunchy surface. Goes well with cheese.
Satsivi- Chicken or Turkey in a walnut sauce with garlic and spices.
Baje – Ground walnut sauce with garlic and spices. Great with everything.
Soko - Mushrooms prepared in various ways, seasoned with spices and herbs.
Ajika – Georgia’s own spicy hot sauce filled with herbs and spices.
Tkemali – Georgian ketchup, but oh so much more… A red or green sour plumb sauce made from the fruit of the tkemali tree. No one leaves the country without a bottle.
Tsotskhali - A freshly prepared fish from a freshwater source
Matsoni - A dairy product similar to plain yogurt, but somewhat more sour.
Mtswadi – Georgian barbeque, meat grilled to perfection over a grape vine-wood fire, with fresh pomegranate juice squeezed over it.
Khinkali – The Georgian National dish: juicy meat dumplings made to be eaten by hand, using a special technique that can be learned only here. Visitors end up craving this so much they make special trips back just to taste it again.
Kharcho, the tender chicken soup Chikhirtma with eggs whipped in vinegar and the transparent light meat broth flavoured with garlic, parsley and fennel.
Khashi - a broth cooked from beef entrails (legs, stomach, udder, pieces of head, bones) and lavishly seasoned with garlic.
Bread, Traditional Georgian breads are baked in a large well-shaped oven called T'one. Tonis Puri, Mesxuri Puri, Shotis Puri, Cadi are types of bread traditional in Georgia.
Churchkhela - nuts on a thread dipped into a hot grape mixture, then hung to solidify.
Drinks - Apart from alcoholic drinks Chacha and wine, tasty Lagidze water is a Georgian flavored soda made with a variety of natural syrups, sold bottled or mixed in the glass in a soda fountain. Types of mineral water from Georgia are Borjomi, Nabeglavi and Sairme