Yes, of course, addictions are bad. They interfere with your freedom, don’t they? But sometimes they’re not only inevitable but also feel so good. Luckily, Georgian cuisine as an addiction is a lesser evil. It’s healthy, affordable and to be found in a country so beautiful that once you get there, you will have plentiful reasons to believe you’ve ended up in paradise. Not only food in Georgia is heavenly, but also the views, music, and atmosphere. Besides, Georgians don’t eat for the sake of getting their bellies full. They enjoy each bite of their food and thus make eating an essential part of their culture. Their hospitality, just as their cooking skills, is beyond ordinary.
Georgia, located in Caucasus, used to be hard to reach, but nowadays the country’s slowly becoming more popular amongst travelers. Thanks to cheap flights from several European cities, you can include it in your Eurotrip itinerary. Nevertheless, Georgia also deserves being a destination on its own – you can spend weeks traveling around the country and getting surprised regularly.
Not convinced yet? Here’s a list of 12 Georgian dishes that will clarify your doubts.
Khachapuri is THE Georgian dish. If you ask someone “what should I eat when I go to Georgia?”, they’ll most likely answer enthusiastically “khachapuri!!!”, Before mentioning any other dishes No wonder khachapuri awakes such strong feelings, it’s heavenly indeed. Cheese-filled bread – sounds simple, doesn’t it? Khachapuri isn’t sophisticated, but it’s “simply amazing.” Made of salty Georgian cheese and fresh bread, it’s also hearty. Khachapuri comes in several different shapes, with the Imeruli and Adjaruli variations being the most popular. Imeruli originated from the Imereti region; it’s circular and flat. Adjaruli was first made in the Adjara region. It’s oblong-shaped and even heavier than the Imeruli kind (as if all the cheese wasn’t enough, it’s topped with butter and raw egg before serving).
Okay, we said khachapuri is the most famous Georgian dish, but khinkali isn’t less popular. These two can be called iconic representatives of Georgian cuisine. Khinkali reminds usual dumplings, but there is something special about it. Prettily twisted pieces of dough look good on a plate and, because of the yummy filling, taste even better. Khinkali is usually made with meat and a mixture of spices. It’s mostly the seasoning that makes its flavor so unique. Luckily, there is something for vegetarians too – it’s possible to find khinkali filled with mushrooms, potatoes or cheese.
Eggplant, tomato, potato, bell pepper, herbs – ajapsandali is a lovely mixture of healthy stuff. The aromatic addition of garlic and cilantro makes its favor strong and precise. Ajapsandali is especially popular during the summer when all of the ingredients can be found in Georgian gardens.
Pkhali isn’t one dish; it’s a whole group of dishes. It can be made of various vegetables, such as spinach, beetroot, beans, cabbage or eggplant. Chopped and minced, the chosen vegetable forms a sort of a paste or pâté. To make pkhali more delicious, Georgian cooks combine the basic veggie with walnuts, onions, lemon juice, vinegar, garlic, and herbs. Pkhali is often served with bread.
Georgians like beans almost as much as they like cheese and lobiani are proof. From the outside, it reminds khachapuri, but the filling is different. Lobiani is bread stuffed with beans. However its simplicity, the dish has a unique taste. Its character is made of such details as the bread’s texture and the perfectly balanced seasoning.
Beans, beans everywhere – lobio is another dish made of this hearty vegetable. Lobio comes in so many varieties; it’d be smarter to call it a group of dishes. Lobio nigozit is probably the most traditional kind. It’s made of dark red kidney beans. They’re cooked, mashed and mixed with garlic, onions, coriander, chili pepper, vinegar, and walnuts. Lobio nigozit should marinate overnight and then be served cold. There are hot versions of lobio as well, some of which contain meat.
Ispanakhi Matsvnit is a real treasure for salad enthusiasts. Made of cooked spinach, yogurt, salt, coriander, and garlic, it’s as healthy as delicious. It works well as an addition to main dishes, but if you love salads, you can also eat it with bread and treat as a full meal.
A lamb stew prepared and served in a clay pot, chanakhi is more of a sophisticated dish. First, there is a layer of lamb pieces and then a layer or eggplant mixed with tomato, garlic, onions, and potatoes. All of it is baked and topped with leafy greens. Chanakhi is a great dinner option for meat-lovers who also appreciate the taste of veggies.
Something for your sweet tooth, gozinaki is a traditional Georgian confection. It’s full of calories, but also relatively healthy. Gozinaki is made of caramelized walnuts and honey, gozinaki contains quite a lot of valuable nutrients. It’s traditionally served on Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
Dolma isn’t a typically Georgian dish. It’s popular all around Caucasus, Russia, Balkans, the Middle East and Central Asia. Nevertheless, it’s worth trying when you’re in Georgia. It’s a delicious and elaborate dish, composed of vegetables, rice, herbs and, sometimes, meat. The ingredients are minced and wrapped in grape leaves. Dolma is often served with yummy sauces.
This meaty soup originated from the Megrelia region, but can now be found all over the country. Kharcho consists of beef (it can also be lamb, pork, goose or chicken), rice, walnuts and cherry plum puree. Like most Georgian cuisine, it’s richly seasoned. Seasoning varies depending on the region where the dishes being prepared, but fresh coriander is one of the most common additives.
We’ve only mentioned one dessert so far, but of course, Georgia has a lot more to offer in the means of sweetness. Churchkhela is a particular dessert that can be found in most of the Georgian stores and street markets. This sausage-shaped candy immediately catches an eye with its strange look. The taste is unique as well. Walnuts are the main ingredient of churchkhela, but can sometimes be replaced by (or combined with) almonds or hazelnuts. They’re threaded onto a string, dipped in a thick grape must and dried.
Are you hungry yet? Remember: these are just several examples of Georgian cuisine’s wonderfulness! There is much more to discover in the kitchens of this enchanting country. Not only food but also beverages deserve some attention. Georgians have fantastic coffee, wine, and liquors (chacha, a pomace brandy, being the most famous one). Most importantly, though, Georgians know how to enjoy their cuisine’s richness and how to share this joy with their guests.
So, are you thinking of going to Georgia and experience the Georgian cuisine? Let us know! And don’t forget to share this article with your friends – let’s spread the message about this gorgeous Caucasian country and its gems!