News.Travel&Tourism

Georgian Wine & Food Matching

April 11, 2017

Pairing wine with food is a very important matter which people should pay more attention to – particularly in Georgia, the country of wine. Ensuring that a wine and a dish match has other benefits besides aesthetics: good combinations are healthy and pleasant.

Some words of advice

- One should select a wine to go with food as one would choose spices: just as one knows that savoury spices go well with red beans, one should also know which wine would go well with such a dish.

- The flavour of a wine is largely based upon the following three basic elements: acidity, sweetness and tannin content. Very acidic wines can deal with fatty foods, and very often share a common language with spicy sauces. Sugar can soften and round off the flavour of a dish, whereas a wine with lots of tannins goes well with dishes high in protein, which is why strong red wines should be served with dishes such as meat, beans or mushrooms.

- It is a well-known fact that dry red wines do not go well with fish, because fish gives such wines a metallic taste (fish cooked in red wine and served with a light red wine, however, is a very interesting combination).

- If a wine is bitter or is very young, its bitterness can be neutralized by pairing it with a sour or salty dish, and acidic wines actually go very well with salty dishes. This is why white wines with high acidity or dry sparkling wines go well with fish and seafood.

- Tough meats which need to be chewed for a long time – beef steaks, especially – soften the flavour of tannins, which is why red wine is best served with red meat whereas white wine goes best with fish and white meats.

- Simple dishes with mutton, lamb, beef or game without complicated sauces are best accompanied by special, aged red wines (which also go well with roast turkey or pork).

- White wine goes well with most dishes made from fish or containing eggs, whereas light reds should be served with dishes made from pulses.

- The rule for choosing wine is very simple: serve aromatic, thick and strong wines with fatty and nutritious foods; slightly lighter wines with slightly less fatty dishes; and light wines with light dishes. Fatty and nutritious food can also go very well with a light wine if the flavour of the latter would make for an interesting contrast. A dish should match the acidity of the wine with which it is served, or else the wine may seem bland. A goose prepared with oranges, for example, should be accompanied by a distinctly acidic wine, whereas one cooked with olives would not necessarily require such a wine. The acidity of a white wine can improve the flavour of a dish, as it has the same effect as adding several drops of lemon juice.

- Should one ever be given the opportunity to try a very old, rich, complex wine, one should never have it with a peppery dish, for this spice would kill all the wine's interesting and mysterious nuances. The opposite, however, is true of simple wines: pepper added to a food enriches the aroma of such wines and gives them new meaning.

- Sweet dishes do not go well with dry wines, but many sweet and semi-sweet wines are an excellent accompaniment to strong flavours. Examples of well-known pairings are Sauternes with foie gras or with Roquefort cheese.

- One should remember that if one intends to serve different wines during a meal, one should begin by serving the lighter ones. It would be pointless to start with heavy Saperavi, for example, for one would then be unable to appreciate the flavour of any other wine served later. As a rule, one should start with sparkling or light classic European-style white wines, then move on to rosé  wines, which could then be followed by Kakhetian qvevri wines, finishing with red wines in order of fullness of body and strength. Dry wines should always be served before semi-dry, semi-sweet, sweet or fortified wines. The final note of a dinner might consist of a strong drink such as cognac, Georgian brandy or high-quality chacha, etc.

Georgian sparkling wines

Georgian sparkling wines make for an excellent apéritifBrut or aged sparkling wines are delicious with salmon, caviar or oysters, and dry sparkling wine goes very well with Chinese food. Semi-dry sparkling wines are good with sushi, raw salmon, fish cooked without spices, fruit or with avocado salad, whereas rosé sparkling wine goes best with light desserts. It would not be a good idea to serve champagne with very garlicky, peppery or spicy foods or with chocolate.

Rkatsiteli

Rkatsiteli is a universal accompaniment. If made in a European style, this wine can accompany a wide range of dishes. It goes well with very simple dishes, different kinds of cheese, dishes with potatoes, salads, meats in sauce, green beans or pies made from cheese or with other fillings.

Tsinandali

Tsinandali wine which has not been stored in oak goes well with chicken salads, dry cheeses, crab or other seafood, boiled fish or white meats such as chicken or turkey. On the other hand, Tsinandali which has aged in oak barrels goes well with ham salads, trout smoked with spices, roast chicken or turkey or brains.

Mtsvane, Khikhvi and Kisi

If made in a European style, these wines go well with seafood, light salads, steamed fish and goat's cheese.

Chardonnay and Sauvignon blanc

Wines made from foreign varieties of grape grown in Kakheti go well with shrimp and with mussel soup, and are also an excellent apéritif.

Chinuri and Goruli mtsvane

These two wines make for delicious apéritifs, and go well with green salads, boiled white meats and fish.

Tsolikouri

Like Rkatsiteli in Eastern Georgia, Tsolikouri in Western Georgia can accompany many different dishes, ranging from maize bread with cheese or chopped leeks with walnut all the way to chicken in sour wild plum (tkemali) sauce, aubergines and cheese pies (khachapuri).

Tsitska

Tsitska should accompany fish, salads or green beans prepared with walnut sauce.

Krakhuna

This is one of Imereti's strongest and most hot-tempered white wines. It goes well with dishes made from mutton or lamb (Imeretian chakapuli with tarragon, for example), chicken roast on skewers, boiled tongue, chicken salads or chicken cooked in white wine.

Tsulukidzis tetra from Racha

This wine is best served with pies filled with cheese, spinach, or with other herbs, or with chanterelles in walnut sauce.

Kakhetian qvevri wines

These wines have a very distinctive flavour, and their high tannin content precludes their use as apéritifs. Wine made in a Kakhetian style is a universal accompaniment for the entire Eastern Georgian cuisine, but should above all be served with fatty and nutritious foods ranging from sheep's cheese with tarragon or dambal khacho (very mature cottage cheese) to khashlama (boiled meat). Kakhetian qvevri wines also go well with spicy or peppery dishes, with shila pilaf (rice with meat or mushrooms), with a chakapuli of lamb cooked with tarragon, with trout roast on skewers or with chicken. They are also a good accompaniment for bozbashi (boiled mutton), dolma (vine or cabbage leaves stuffed with meat), shoulder of veal or for turkey with walnut sauce (satsivi).

Tvishi

Tvishi and other semi-sweet white wines should ideally accompany fruit, fruit salads, almonds, biscuits or light cakes, Georgian paska (an Easter cake made with lemon juice and nutmeg), boiled maize, pumpkin, korkoti (a kind of pilaf made from cereals) or cold melon.

Eiswein or other late harvest wines

Besides being served as a dessert wine, such wines are also make for an excellent apéritif and go well with classic European foie gras, mature cheeses, khalva (a very sweet Turkish dessert), Turkish delight, ice cream with caramel and with fruit salads.

Rosé wines

In Georgia, rosé wines are mostly made from the Saperavi or Tavkveri varieties of grape, and go well with cheese pies, pizza, salads, oriental dishes or with ham or sausages. Rosé wines should also be served with fruit – especially semi-dry rosé wines. Chkhaveri wine should also be mentioned here, for this rosé wine full of notes of peaches and flowers is an excellent accompaniment to meat dishes and expensive cheeses. Rosé wines should be served chilled. 

Saperavi

Some Saperavi wines have amazing potential, and can go very well with delicate dishes or with a wide variety of game ranging from wild boar and jikhvi (wild mountain goat) to various birds. Saperavi is also good with pork cooked on skewers, expensive hard cheeses, liver kaurma (liver cooked in a pot) or with "oyster" mushrooms. Elegant and light versions of this wine go well with moderately seasoned meat dishes such as mutton chanakhi (mutton cooked with vegetables), beef chashushuli (a kind of stew), fried piglet, veal or with chakhokhbili (meat stewed with tomatoes). Some Saperavi wines are best drunk when young, which is why they are excellent everyday wines. They go well with pretty much anything: pâté, potatoes fried with ham, cheese, sausage, fried saucisson, spaghetti, red kidney beans, salads, sandwiches or cold meats.

Teliani appellation Cabernet Sauvignon

This wine is an excellent drink to accompany beef steaks, veal cooked on skewers and boiled tongue.

Red wines from Kartli

The above title refers to Shavkapito and Tavkveri wines from Kartli as well as to Saperavi wines made from Saperavi grapes grown in Kartli. Tavkveri wines would be a perfect match for salmon steaks or for dishes made from boiled or stewed meat, whereas Shavkapito or Saperavi wines from Kartli go well with chakhokhbili made from mutton or lamb, with kalia (a kind of poultry stew) or with kaurma made from mutton or lamb.

Otskhanuri sapere

The best dishes to accompany this wine would be fried veal, beef cooked with thyme, Imeretian kuchmachi (pig innards cooked with walnuts), and of course amanita caesarea, more commonly known as "Caesar's mushroom".

Red wines from Racha

Racha is of course famous for its dry Alexandrouli and Mujuretuli wines, as well as for the thin and elegant Dzelshavi. These wines are of course ideally served with dishes from Racha: the dry, strong, hot-tempered and spicy Alexandrouli and Mujuretuli with smoked ham from Racha or with a goose kharcho (a stew with walnuts), fried rabbit in sauce, stewed veal or with armillariella mellea ("honey fungus"), whereas Dzelshavi goes well with kidney bean pie (lobiani) or crushed kidney beans with walnuts.

Ojaleshi

Ojaleshi goes particularly well with traditional meat dishes from the Western Georgian region of Mingrelia such as fried goat kid, kupati (a kind of sausage made with pig innards), kuchmachi (fried pig liver with pomegranate seeds) or fried piglet stuffed with cheese.

Kindzmarauli

Moving on to semi-sweet red wines: Kindzmarauli is a Kakhetian wine made from Saperavi grapes, and is accordingly a very strong wine rich in tannins. In addition to red fruit and cakes made with fruit, Kindzmarauli can therefore be served with meat dishes with sweet sauces. Some kinds of Kindzmarauli could go also well with old sheep's cheese.

Khvanchkara, Usakhelouri, Orbelis ojaleshi

Some Khvanchkara wines can be enjoyed with kidney beans with ham or with kidney bean pies, but other gentle kinds go well with red fruit and light cakes. These three wines are an ideal accompaniment to traditional Georgian desserts like pelamushi (a kind of jelly made from grape juice), churchkhela (walnuts covered in solidified grape juice), kishmishi (raisins), dried fruit or baked pumpkin.

 

Georgian cheese and wine

Gudis kveli (mature sheep's cheese) goes well with the amber Kakhetian wines which are traditionally made in qvevri. Saperavi wines from different regions are also very nice with this cheese, such as those from Napareuli or from Kvareli or that from the right bank of the Alazani i.e. from Gurjaani.

Dambal khacho (very mature cottage cheese) also goes well with Saperavi wines, whereas wines made from Manavis mtsvane grapes are best drunk with mature cheeses made from cow's milk. This latter cheese, which is made in Outer Kakheti and is very fatty with a yellowish centre, exists in two varieties: one is pale despite its yellow colour and is more crumbly, whereas the other one exudes liquid goodness from its large pores and is shiny. Very similar cheeses are also produced in Georgia's Kartli region – to the north of which the famous Ossetian cheeses can be found – and these all go well with wine from Kartli, but some Kartlian wines are so aromatic that they require softer, fresher cheeses or old but odourless cheeses.

In Western Georgia, fresh and saltless chkinti cheeses from Imereti predominate – this despite the fact that the king of cheese in this western half of Georgia is Mingrelian buffalo sulguni. Imeretian wines and rosé  wines from Kartli (Tavkveri), also rosé  wines made from Saperavi, , Aladasturi or Chkhaveri grapes go well with fresh chkinti cheeses. Rosé would be an excellent accompaniment to fresh cheeses made from goat's or sheep's milk. 

Slightly old cheeses from Western Georgia (from Racha, upper Imereti or Guria) are best enjoyed with wines such as Rachuli tetra, Kvishkhuri, Dzelshavi, Rachuli tsitska, Tsolikouri or Chkhaveri.

It is not easy to choose a wine to go with Mingrelian buffalo cheese, but a good Tsolikouri, Tsitska or fortified or liqueur wine would likely be a good match. Just like Italian mozzarella, Georgian sulguni cheese made from buffalo milk would be delicious with Georgian eiswein or with wine made from grapes harvested late. Smoked sulguni, however, would be a perfect partner for Georgian red wines such as Saperavi, Otskhanuri sapere, Alexandrouli or Shavkapito. The same could be said of old sulguni or of sulguni matured in Saperavi wine.

It is good that the practice of producing noble, old cheeses is beginning to establish itself in Georgia, but the practice of developing wines to match such cheeses needs to start alongside (such as wines made from grapes harvested late like Sauternes and eiswein). In the meantime, high-quality red or white wines such as Tsinandali aged in oak barrels, Mukuzani wine or Saperavi wine from Khashmi or from the Bakurtsikhe-Kardenakhi area could be substituted.

An appropriate wine can also be found to go with kalti (very dry and hard sheep's cheese from the mountainous region of Tusheti), which is traditionally eaten with beer or vodka from the same region, but one could also eat it with a white Kakhetian wine from the left bank of the Alazani or with Saperavi.

Mstvadi – Skewered Pork or Veal

Pork Mtsvadi is common mostly in the eastern part of Georgia, wheareas veal Mtsvadi is more typical of western Georgia. These simple dishes are not necessarily as festive as Satsivi or Gozinakhi (walnut and honey crunch). Still, they are essential parts of a New’ Year’s supra. Moreover, these meals go best with heavy, full-bodied Georgian red wines that are high in tannins. Mtsvadi is made from high quality, tender meat that has a moderate amount of fat. It is especially important to roast mtsvadi on an open fire, on hot coals. It is usually grilled to perfection over a grape vine wood fire.

Wine: It pairs ideally with Kakhetian qvevri style Saperavi, Shavkapito wine from Kartli, Aleksandrouli from Racha or Imeretian Otskhanuri Sapere. It also goes well with Mukuzani PDO, Kvareli PDO and Napareui PDO wines. 

Jigris Kaurma

Jigris Kaurma is the most popular Georgian dish made with subproducts. Jigari means liver, lung, heart etc. Finely chopped cow’s or pig’s heart and liver along with an apiploon are cooked in wine and then seasoned with onion, cilantro, Utskho Suneli and savory, to which a tomato sauce is also added. Jigris Kaurma should be neither too juicy nor too dry. This fatty and extremely rich dish is a wonderful component of winter holiday festive meals.

Wine: Young, full-bodied Saperavi wines that are high in tannins, either qvevri or classic styles. Also Mukuzani PDO, Kvareli PDO, and Napareuli PDO. It also pairs nicely with heavy Georgian reds such as Shavkapito, Aleksandrouli and Otskhanuri Sapere. One can also try it with Chacha (Georgian pomace vodka).

Satali and Caviar

New Year’s feasts in Georgia usually incorporate the lavishness of high quality fish dishes. Some of the best options would include Satali – a cured and smoked sturgeon as well as the black and red caviar. Satali is considered a delicacy, but if it is hard to grab during the holiday season, the New Year’s supra (the traditional feast) can be garnished with a cured red salmon as well. Satali, salmon and caviar are also among those few dishes that pair best with Georgian sparkling wine. This delicious morsels of food certainly give a celebratory touch to this aperiitif.

Wine: Brut sparkling wines made from Tsitska and from other Georgian varietals, also still whites, Chinuri, Manavi PDO (Mtsvane Kakhuri), Tsinandali PDO (Rkatsiteli, Mtsvane Kakhuri).

Prasis Mkhali – Leek Chard With Spices

Mkhali is a leaves and vegetable “puree” to which various herbs like Utskho Suneli (popular Georgian spice), French marigold, dry coriander, garlic, onion, vinegar and ground walnuts are added. There are plenty of options to choose from: Roasted eggplant with walnut filling, also so-called Tsiteli Mkhali made from spinach and beet leaves. Festive supras also include bell peppers with walnut filling or leek Mkhali, which is garnished with pomegranate and shaped in the form of a nest. In Kakheti, the filling of Nigvziani Badrijani (Eggplants stuffed with walnuts) often incorporates cooked onions. The fresh herbs that are used for these dishes include coriander, parsley, basil and celery leaves. 

Wine: Only a few wines pair well with Mkhali as it is usually well-seasoned and filled with ground walnuts. The wines that work with these dishes include Imeretian styles that are full-bodied and highly acidic such as Tsolikouri, also aromatic and relatively lighter examples of Kakhetian qvevri amber wines such as Kisi. 

Boiled Pig

Traditional feast menu also includes boiled pig meat that is served cold. In early times, a boiled suckling pig was one of the components of winter holiday festive meals, which is quite as delicious as suckling pig dish. Boiling the meat is not difficult at all. It is usually cooked in hot and salted water and served with a horseradish or walnut sauce. The most important thing is to choose the right type of meat: it should be neither fatty nor too lean. The best type of meat for this dish would be the one that is “parti-colored” and has streaks of fat among the lean meat.

Wine: The best light red wines – Tavkveri, Dzelshavi, Ojaleshi, Aladasturi, some Saperavi examples as well as Kakhetian qvevri amber wines.

Khachapuri

There are various kinds of Khachapuri in Georgia. Different regions of the country have their own type of khachapuri that is made according to the region’s traditional methods. Imeretian and Megrelian Khachapuris are the most popular ones. In the Adjara region, Khachapuri is made from layers of cheese and pre-cooked dough, also known as achma, and is baked in the oven. Achma is an essential part of New Year’s meals. In Meskheti region, puff pastry is used for making Khachapuri, which is then baked in Purne (a bottomless bakery made of clay that is dug deep into the ground). Kachapuri should be served hot.

Wine: Khachapuri is an universal dish and pairs well with a wide range of white wines: In Imereti – Tsitska, Tsolikouri, Krakhuna. In Guria and Adjara –  Chkhaveri (white or rosé) and Tsolikouri. In Racha – Tsulukidzis Tetra and Tsolikouri. In Samegrelo – Tsolikouri. In Kartli – Chinuri and Goruli Mtsvane. In Kakheti – a classic style of Mtsvane Kakhuri and Rkatsiteli. Rosé wines go particularly well with Khachapuri as well. 

Astonishing waterfalls and canyon of Martvili

October 28, 2016

Martivili Canyon is one of Georgia’s most beautiful and rare nature spots that one should see and experience while staying in Georgia. The site is located in Samegrelo region of Western Georgia, 280km fromTbilisi. Many years ago Martvili canyons used to be a bath place for Georgian nobles, Dadiani family, but now it represents a touristic site where people walk around, enjoy the incredible scenery of the waterfalls, emerald-green river and take a boat trip on it. Oniore Waterfall is located inMartviliMunicipality, at the right tributary ofAbashaRiver, 680 meters above sea level. The waterfall pours fromTobaCaveand creates amazing scenery. The river that flows through the cave creates 67-meter Oniore Waterfall. 

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The Biltmore Millennium hotel in Tbilisi

August 1, 2016

Located in a very prestigious address in central Tbilisi on the Rustaveli Avenue, named after the medieval Georgian poet, Shota Rustaveli. Rustaveli. It is considered the main thoroughfare of Tbilisi due to the large number of governmental, public, cultural and business buildings located nearby. The property is built as part of a historic Government building in Tbilisi known as the former Institute of Marxism and Leninism (IMEL), designed and constructed in 1933-1938 by the acclaimed architect Alexei Schusev. The hotel’s building is connected to it with a glass bridge, so in a very literal way it will connect the past to the present.

TBILISI TO REOPEN OPERA HOUSE

January 30, 2016

Tbilisi to reopen opera house that has survived tsars, Soviets and civil war. Tbilisi’s opera house has been burnt to the ground, shot at and raized over its 165-year history.

Zurab Lomidze was director of the Tbilisi opera house at the time of Georgia’s 1991 civil war. As the fighting raged outside, along the capital’s Rustaveli avenue, he and other staff had stayed inside to try to protect it.

“One day a group of paramilitaries gunned down the front door, telling us they needed the opera for shelter,” he remembers. “After the gunmen left we had no front door and a wall riddled with bullets. When we opened again after the fighting, I wanted to cover that wall in glass and put up a big sign saying: ‘This is not how you treat culture’.”

Even before it was caught up in Georgia’s post-Soviet turmoil, Tbilisi’s opera house had been burnt to the ground – twice. Then it was almost brought to its knees as the money ran out. Now, a new era beckons for the 165-year-old home of Georgian opera and ballet: this weekend the theatre is reopening its doors, following a six-year, multimillion-pound refit paid for by the country’s richest man and former prime minister, Bidzina Ivanishvili.

“We hope it’s a moment of cultural rebirth for Georgia,” says Nina Ananiashvili, the director of Georgia’s State Ballet. “Culture is our face.” With just days to go before the grand opening, actors are conducting final dress rehearsals for the traditional season opener, Abesalom and Eteri.

Lomidze, now the opera’s technical director, has been overseeing preparations, among other things making sure all 800 lightbulbs in the giant 3.5-tonne chandelier hanging above the theatre hall have been replaced.

Georgia has a rich tradition of performance art dating back centuries, long before it was swallowed up by the Russian empire and then the Soviet Union. The opera house’s history is also entwined with its tortured relationship with its giant neighbour. It was built in the mid-19th century by the tsar’s pro-consul in the Caucasus as a kind of bribe, hoping to win restless Georgians over to Moscow’s rule. During communist rule, Tbilisi was established as one of the premier venues for opera and ballet outside Moscow.

But when the opera house reopened in the 1990s after the civil war, tickets had to be priced so cheap there was no money to pay staff. “It was really cold inside, but the demand was huge,” says Lomidze. “Maybe opera is a luxury, but in those years in Georgia it was more of a necessity.”

Although Georgia’s prospects have improved over the past decade, it has been a struggle to find the money for big performances and to maintain the neo-Moorish building. “It was in terrible shape by the time it closed,” says architect Leri Medzmariashvili, “but we have tried as much as possible to be faithful to the original look”.

Funding for the makeover has come from Ivanishvili, who has promised to pay for the first year’s performances on top of the 100m lari (£28m) renovation bill. Some have questioned Ivanishvili’s motives in funding this and many other big projects around the country, given the power he wields over domestic politics: prime minister for just under a year in 2012 and 2013, he founded the Georgian Dream party which is now the leading element in the ruling coalition.

Ceiling and stained glass detailing inside.
 
 Ceiling and stained glass detailing inside. Photograph: Andrew North for the Guardian

The coalition faces elections in the autumn but Nikoloz Chkhetiani, chairman of Ivanishvili’s Cartu Fund charity, which oversaw the opera project, dismisses the complaints. “We didn’t plan to finish this renovation in election year,” he says.

It is not clear whether or not the money will keep flowing for the big opera and ballet stars Tbilisi wants to lure back. In recent years Georgian opera singers and dancers have had glittering careers abroad. Lado Ataneli and Tamar Iveri, who will perform the lead roles in Abesalom and Eteri this weekend, have sung many times at La Scala in Milan.

Ananiashvili, who herself won a reputation as one of the world’s greatest ballerinas for her performances with the Bolshoi in Moscow and other major ballets before returning to Tbilisi in 2004, hopes to bring some of that lustre back home. “So often when we say we’re from Georgia,” she says, “people think Georgia, USA”.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jan/27/tibilisi-to-reopen-opera-house-that-has-survived-tsars-soviets-and-civil-war

CNN: Georgia.Top 16 Emerging Travel Destinations in 2016

January 9, 2016

(CNN) The best stories arise from the road less traveled.

As new routes launch, developing nations welcome tourism and closed-off regions emerge.

So what's hot in 2016?

We asked an expert panel of pros who thrive and survive on travel to new frontiers.

Whether it's staring into the eyes of a wild mountain gorilla inUganda, snorkeling amidst stingless jellyfish inPalauor drinking yak butter tea with nomads in a ger in theGobi, we're spoiled for choice with these 16 emerging destinations for 2016.

Georgia

A land of medieval architecture, timeless culture and staggering scenery,Georgiais simply stunning.

Blessed with 750 miles ofSouthern Caucasus mountains, this canvas invites walkers, horse riders and skiers.

Snow-encrusted summits descend into vast valleys, where age-old villages are dotted with ancient churches and watchtowers, between rolling vineyards.

What's new?

Cheap flights, new routes and improved infrastructure and accommodation confirmGeorgiaas big news for 2016.

Tbilisi, the capital, is a concoction of old and new, where balcony-studded houses and narrow cobbled alleyways mingle with galleries and cafes.

"This region could benefit from some of the turmoil in theMiddle East, offering similar travel highlights, albeit in a different cultural and topological makeup," says Bealby of Wild Frontiers.

"We have seen a big rise [in visitors] toGeorgiaand are expecting that to increase in 2016."

When to visit: February to November. May 26 is Independence Day.

http://edition.cnn.com/2015/12/22/travel/emerging-destinations-2016/index.html?iref=obinsite

What is chichilaki

What is chichilaki

December 25, 2015

The Chichilaki (Georgian: ჩიჩილაკი) is an ancient Georgian traditional Christmas tree made from dried up hazelnut or walnut branches that are shaved to form a small coniferous tree. These pale-colored ornaments differ in height from 20 cm (8 in) to 3 meters (10 feet). Chichilakis are most common in the Guria and Samegrelo regions near the Black Sea, but they can also be found in some stores around the capital of Tbilisi.

The traditional making of chichilakis is an important part of the Georgian Orthodox Christmas, which is observed on January 7. The Georgians believe that the shaved tree resembles the famous beard of St. Basil the Great, who is thought to visit people during Christmas similar to the Santa Claus tradition. It is also believed that the chichilakis represent the tree of life, a symbol of hope for the Georgians.

Every year, people flock to stalls to buy chichilakis and decorate them with small fruits and berries. Apples, pomegranates, and madder are attached to the tree as offerings to heaven for a bountiful harvest.

The chichilakis are then ceremoniously burned on the day before the Georgian Orthodox Epiphany on January 19 to symbolize the passing of the previous year’s troubles. Some families in Samegrelo purchase chichilakis for relatives who have recently died.

2016 New Year & Christmas in Georgia

2016 New Year & Christmas in Georgia

October 2, 2015

New Year's Eve 2015-16 In TBILISI, Georgia » 31st December 2015

New Year's Eve in Tbilisi is party night. The restaurants, bars and clubs are full, and the atmosphere builds gently. As midnight approaches, revellers gather at the Old Tbilisi, in Central Square to watch fireworks.

Tbilisi is a popular destination for New Year's Eve. The celebrations are enjoyed by one and all: the young and old, the quiet and romantic, the wild and carefree - there are entertainment options to suit all tastes.

Some people opt for restaurants offering an all-inclusive night of fine food, drinks and dancing. Others prefer a romantic candlelit dinner 'à deux'. Some revellers bar crawl and chance on finding a club after the fireworks. Others buy tickets for a party in a club or music bar. 

We welcome you to celebrate it in Georgia and will willingly arrange accommodation, transportation, dinner at the restaurant and what not!!!

Travel Promotions Georgia offers Wine-Harvest trips

Travel Promotions Georgia offers Wine-Harvest trips

September 3, 2015

In a country known for wine production such as Georgia, the harvest season is an important time of year. The harvest is celebrated with festivals, tours and wine tasting. Consider joining in the revelry and tradition by taking a wine tour of one or more ofGeorgia’s wine-producing regions.

Grapes are ready to be harvested in Georgia in the late August to mid fall, most often during October. The temperatures are mild during the day and pleasantly cool at night.

Where to Go

Almost every region of the country grows grapes; and cities, towns and villages across the country hold grape festivals to celebrate the harvest. The most well-known regions for grape growing include Kakheti, Racha, Kartli. Grab a map of Georgia and decide whether you want to focus on a single region's grape harvest or travel between two or more relatively close regions. Our reliable staff will arrange the trip in the best possible way from one region to another to get a taste of the variety Georgia offers.

Festivals

A tour of Georgia during the wine harvest isn't complete without a visit to at least one wine festival. You can find festivals in the big cities likeTbilisi, Telavi, in the towns like Sighnaghi or Kvareli. Grape and wine festivals usually take place in town centers or main squares. They include wine tasting, regional food delicacies, crafts vendors, music and perhaps a parade or fireworks display.

Our tours in September-October 2015

The variety of tours all around Georgia. Each tour is from two to 8 days, includes wine tastings, vineyard tours, cooking classes, day trips and cultural activities. The one-day trips include visits to at least two wineries, tastings, transportation and lunch. To see several regions over the course of one harvest, you can book more than one tour.

We wish you the most interesting day during your stay in Georgia!

Mountainous villages of Georgia

August 5, 2015

Georgia is a curious place crowned at the top by the Higher Caucasus Mountains to the north of the country. While cities like Tbilisi and Batumi are beginning to rake in the tourists as the country gradually gains popularity, to really get a true feel for Georgia, it’s best to visit its small towns and villages hidden up in remote (and some not so remote) regions in the mountains.

We go through a few of these mountain villages in Georgia, others not, but that only gives you more incentive to spend some extra time here once the rally is over.

Here are our top picks of Georgia’s best mountain villages!

Ushguli, Svaneti

Ushguli

Tucked up in Upper Svaneti, a region that has gained UNESCO recognition, this settlement can lay claim to the name of being Europe’s highest continually inhabited village. Ushguli is actually a village split up into four hamlets, and is famed for its crumbling defensive towers that are typically characteristic of Svan architecture. Travelling off the beaten track here feels like taking a step back into the past.

 

Shatili, Khevsureti

Shatili

The region of Khevsureti is one of Georgia’s most remote areas. It’s hard to get mobile phone reception here, not to mention there is no electricity here (except for the odd generator here and there). Shatili is the region’s largest settlement, and home to a handful of families who abandon the area in the winter, save for one family who hold the fort when the area gets snowed in and have to make do with supplies that’s airlifted into them. The village is made up of a cluster of medieval towers and is pretty spectacular as it is.

Omalo, Tusheti

Omalo

Tusheti is also one of Georgia’s more remote regions, and has an even worse road up to it than Khevsureti. However, unlike Khevsureti, you’ll find a sizable population (in comparison) and numerous villages scattered about. Omalo is the largest, and is best known for its old fortress crowning the top. It might be quite a hike up from the main part of the village, but the view from the top is worth it.

Stepantsminda, Kazbegi

Kazbegi

If you’ve seen any picture postcard of Georgia’s Caucasus Mountains, chances are it’s the church that hovers above the village of Kazbegi (also called Stepantsminda) and under Mount Kazbek – Georgia’s highest mountain. This is one of the more popular mountain destinations in the country, mostly due to its proximity to the capital Tbilisi, which means it can be visited in on a daytrip. The hike up to the church is pretty spectacular, and the journey on the old Military Highway won’t cause you to have a heart attack every 5 metres.

Ambrolauri, Racha

Ambrolauri

Racha might not have the remote beauty of Svaneti, Tusheti and Khevsureti, or the proximity to Tbilisi like Kazbegi, but Racha is one of the most interesting wine regions in the country. The climate here is perfect for growing grapes, which makes this mountain town of Ambrolauri the perfect stop for wine and mountain lovers… probably why we like coming here. Not to mention that the road from Ushguli to Ambrolauri is deliciously bad!

Mestia, Svaneti

Mestia

Mestia was once like Ushguli, a Svan settlement with ancient towers and mountain landscape, but ever since the new road from Zugdidi opened, it’s started to turn into a mini Swiss resort. If you want to get a sense of the Caucasus Mountains with more home comforts than Mestia is a better bet.

Mutso, Khevsureti

Mutso

So close to Chechnya, you can see the guards patrolling up and down the ridge that marks the border. This is the last settlement in Khevsureti accessible by car, and home to one family. However, the interesting thing about Mutso is its huge ruined city that hangs above it on a rocky outcrop. It’s quite a challenging climb, but worth it for the views across the valley. It is most definitely one of the most spectacular sites in the Caucasus Mountains.

Dartlo, Tusheti

Dartlo

The village of Dartlo is tucked even further into the mountains around the region of Tusheti. It looks like something out of a fairytale, nestled into the mountains with the Alazani river flowing by and a waterfall nearby. The historic village might be small, but it does offer a lot of homestays and even a café.

Shenako, Tusheti

Shenako

This highland village is set just outside Omalo. It’s best known landmark is the old church of the Holy Trinity, which sits alone on a hillside overlooking the valley below. It’s a small community, but if you want to stay somewhere in a remote part of the mountains, , this is a good place to do it.

2015 UEFA SUPER CUP in Tbilisi, Georgia - August 11th

2015 UEFA SUPER CUP in Tbilisi, Georgia - August 11th

June 17, 2015

The 2015 UEFA Super Cup will be the 40th edition of the UEFA Super Cup, an annual football match organised by UEFA and contested by the reigning champions of the two main European club competitions, the UEFA Champins League and the UEFA Europa League. The match will feature two Spanish teams  Barcelona and Sevilla, the winners of the 2014-15 UEFA Champins LEague  and the 2014-15 UEFA Europa League respectively. It will be played at the Boris Paichadze Dinamo Arena in Tbilisi, Georgia on 11 August 2015. This is the first time in tournament history that a Super Cup match is a rematch of a previous edition. The two teams in question met before in the 2006 UEFA Super Cup at the Stade Louis II in Monaco, when Sevilla won 3–0.

Venue

The  Mikheil Meskhi Stadium was originally announced as the venue of the Super Cup at the UEFA Executive Committee meeting on 5 March 2014, but the venue has been changed to the Boris Paichadze Dinamo Arena. This will be the first UEFA Super Cup hosted in Georgia. The Boris Paichadze Dinamo Arena was built in 1976 and renovated in 2011. It is the home stadium of the Georgian national Football team and FC Dinamo Tbilisi.