Georgian cuisine

Georgian cuisine (Georgian: ქართული სამზარეულო, translit.: kartuli samzareulo) refers to the cooking styles and dishes created by the Georgians. The Georgian cuisine is unique to the country, but also carries some influences from other Caucasian, Eastern European and nearby Middle Eastern culinary traditions. Each historical province of Georgia has its own distinct culinary tradition, with variations such as Abkhazian, Megrelian, Kakhetian, Imeretian, Svanetian, Tushian, Kartlian, Gurian, Meskhian, Rachian and Adjarian cuisines. Rich with meat dishes, the Georgian cuisine also offers a variety of vegetarian dishes.

Georgian cuisine is the result of the broad interplay of culinary ideas carried along the Silk Road Trade route by merchants and travelers alike.[1] The importance of both food and drink to Georgian culture is best observed during a feast called supra, when a huge assortment of dishes are prepared, always accompanied by large amounts of local wine, known to be one of the world's oldest wines, produced in ancient authentic Georgian underground kvevri clay pots (dating 8 century BC). In a Georgian feast, the role of the tamada (toastmaster) is an important and honoured position.

Regional Cuisines

Abkhazeti

Abkhazian cuisine uses a lot of spices, walnuts.

  • The most popular dishes from Abkhazia are : Abysta (Porridge made of corn, similar to the Mingrelian Ghomi), Apyrpylchara (Pepper skin stuffed with walnut sauce), Achma (A variation of Khachapuri), Aritsvmgeli (Corn bread with walnut), Achash (Abkhaz chudu, with cheese), Achapa (Kidney beans with walnut).
  • The most popular dessert is Akuarkuar, cookie with honey.
  • The most famous Abkhaz wines are Lykhny, Apsny, Anakopia, etc,...

Adjara

Adjarian cuisine is considered as a very diversified cuisine, which was influenced by its nature (Seaside, mountainous part) and by history.

  • In the mountainous Adjara, the main products are dairy products and the dishes are more fat and heavy and on the other side, in the seaside of the region, dishes are mostly spiced, and uses a lot of fresh herbs.
  • The most popular dishes in Adjara are : Adjaruli Khachapuri (აჭარული ხაჭაპური), Borano (ბორანო - chopped cheese fried in ghee), Chirbuli (ჩირბული - Omelette with walnuts and tomato), Khavitsi (ხავიწი - Porridge of corn with ghee), Sinori (სინორი, Made of Nadughi and unleavened dough), Pakhlava (პახლავა - Version of the Turkish Baklava) and Shaqarlama (შაქარლამა - Biscuit),

Guria

The cuisine of Guria is based mostly on poultry meat (especially chicken meat), corn-bread (Mchadi) and on walnuts, like the cuisine of Imereti.

  • The most popular dishes from Guria are : Satsivi (საცივი - Meat, mostly of chicken/turkey in walnut sauce called bazhe), Mchadi (მჭადი - Cornbread), Kupati (კუპატი - Sausage made from pork meat), Badrijani Nigvzit (ბადრიჯანი ნიგვზით - Fried eggplant with walnut sauce), Pkhali (ფხალი) and Kuchmachi (კუჭმაჭი - Chicken livers with walnut sauce and pomegranate).

Imereti

The cuisine of Imereti shares a lot of affinities with the neighbouring region of Guria and is known to use a lot of walnuts

  • The most famous Imeretian dishes includes : Imeruli Khachapuri (იმერული ხაჭაპური - Most common version of the Georgian cheese bread), Mchadi (მჭადი - Cornbread), Pkhali (ფხალი), Kuchmachi (კუჭმაჭი - Chicken livers with walnut sauce and pomegranate), Soko (სოკო - Fried Mushrooms), Lobio (ლობიო - Mashed red beans with spices), Badrijani Nigvzit (ბადრიჯანი ნიგვზით -Fried eggplant with walnut sauce), Chakhokhbili (ჩახოხბილი - Tomato based soup with poultry meat), Mtsnili (მწნილი - Pickled vegetables such as cucumbers, cabbage, beets,jonjoli), Kupati (კუპატი - Sausage made of Pork) and Satsivi (საცივი - Meat, mostly of chicken/turkey in walnut sauce called bazhe).
  • Imereti is also famous for its cheeses such as : Chkinti (ჭყინტი - Salty cheese), Imeruli Kveli (იმერული ყველი) and also Sulguni (სულგუნი).

Kakheti

The Kakhetian cuisine is considered to be a more "meat-based" cuisine and the "Region of Wine". It is also known as the birth-place of one of the Georgian bread, Tonis Puri.

  • Notable dishes from Kakheti includes : Mtsvadi (მწვადი - Meat cooked on fire), Chakapuli (ჩაქაფული - Soup made of fresh herbs such as tarragon and meat of sheep or lamb), Khinkali (ხინკალი - Dumplings filled with meat seasoned with herbs), Khashlama (ხაშლამა - Boiled meat of beef or lamb), Khashi (ხაში - Boiled meat often eaten after Supra), Chanakhi (ჩანახი - Soup made of lamb and tomatoes), Chikhirtma (ჩიხირთმა - Soup made of chicken meat), Ajapsandali (აჯაფსანდალი - Kind of ragout made of eggplants, potatoes and tomatoes), and many others.
  • In Kakheti, they made famous desserts such as Churchkhela (ჩურჩხელა - Candy made of grape juice and walnuts), Pelamushi (ფელამუში - Dessert made of grape juice).
  • Kakheti is also well-known for its wines such as Alazani, Akhasheni, Saperavi, Kindzmarauli, etc.

Kartli

Kartli is known as a very rich region in terms of fruits (apples, apricots, figs, peaches,...) and vegetables (cucumbers, tomatoes, onions,...)

  • Kartlian dishes include : Puris Kharcho (პურის ხარჩო - Kind of soup made of bread), Shechamandi (შეჭამანდი - Soup made of dogwood or docks), Jonjoli (ჯონჯოლი - Pickles made of Bladdernuts), Chakhrakina (ჭახრაკინა - Kind of Khachapuri filled with cheese and beetroots leaves), Khabizgina (ხაბიზგინა - Ossetian Khachapuri filled with cheese and potatoes), Chakapuli (ჩაქაფული - Soup made of fresh herbs and meat of lamb or beef), etc.

Mingrelia

The regional cuisine of Mingrelia can be considered as the most famous in Georgia. It uses a lot of spices and walnuts.

  • Famous Mingrelian dishes include : Ghomi (ღომი - Porridge made of corn meal), Elarji (ელარჯი - Ghomi with Sulguni), Gebzhalia (გებჟალია - Rolls of cheese seasoned with mint), Mingrelian Khachapuri (მეგრული ხაჭაპური - Khachapuri with cheese added on the top), Kupati (კუპატი - Sausage made from Pork), Tabaka (ტაბაკა - Chicken cooked with Ajika), Kharcho (ხარჩო - Soup with beef meat), etc.
  • Sulguni (სულგუნი) is traditionally made in the region.
  • Ajika (აჯიკა) is a sauce made of pepper and spices. It is made traditionally in Mingrelia and in Abkhazia.

Mtianeti, Khevi, Khevsureti, Pshavi and Tusheti

These cuisines are often considered as one due to their similarities.

  • Famous dishes include : Khinkali (ხინკალი - Dumplings filled with meat, potatoes or cottage chesse), Gordila (გორდილა - Boiled dough), Qaghi (ყაღი - Dried and salted meat), Kaurma (ყაურმა - Kind of soup of meat), Kotori (კოტორი - Khachapuri filled with cottage cheese), Khachoerbo (ხაჭოერბო - Dried cottage cheese in ball shape) and Khavitsi (ხავიწი - Melted Cheese)
  • In Tusheti, we also made a goat / sheep based cheese, called Guda (გუდა).
  • These regions are also well-known for their beer (ლუდი) and alcohol, Zhimpitauri (ჟიმპიტაური).

Racha-Lekhchumi

The Cuisines of Racha and of Lechkhumi shares most of their dishes and are often re-grouped into one cuisine, as a consequence.

  • Notable dishes include : Shkmeruli (შქმერული - Chicken in a sauce made of cream and garlic), Lori (ლორი - Pork bacon), Lobiani (ლობიანი - Kind of Khachapuri filled with kidney beans and lori), Lobio (ლობიო - Mashed kidney beans with spices), Rachuli Khachapuri (რაჭული ხაჭაპური - Kind of Khachapuri made into a square form).

Samtskhe-Javakheti

The Cuisine of Samtskhe-Javakheti consists of two regional cuisines : Meskhetian and Javakhetian but due to the similarities, they are often considered as one regional cuisine. This Cuisine is quite different from the other region cuisine of Georgia because of the important use of Goose meat but also due to the Turkish rule of the region which brought and made dishes disappear.

  • Famous dishes from Samtskhe-Javakheti include : Batis Shechamandi (ბატის შეჭამანდი - Soup made of Goose), Meskhuri Khinkali (მესხური ხინკალი - Khinkali filled with Goose), Apokhti (აპოხტი - Dried meat of lamb, beef but also goose and duck), Tatarboragi (თათარბორაგი - Boiled dough), Rdzis Korkoti (რძის კორკოტი - Wheat grains boiled in milk), and many others.
  • Snails or Lokokina (ლოკოკინა) is also a very common dish in the region due to the French Catholics presence in the past.
  • Samtskhe-Javakheti is also famous for its Chiri (ჩირი - Dried fruits), Tklapi (ტყლაპი - Fruit roll-up) and Tenili (ტენილი - Cheese).

Svaneti

The Svan cuisine is considered as very nutritious and is very diverse.

  • Main dishes from Svaneti include : Kubdari (კუბდარი - also known as Svan Khachapuri is a kind of Khachapuri filled with seasoned pork meat), Chvishtari (ჭვიშტარი - Mchadi with Sulguni inside), Lutspeq (ლუცფექ - Boiled barley grains seasoned with pepper and garlic), Kharshil (ხარშილ - Soup of barley and urtica), Tashmijabi (თაშმიჯაბი - Mashed Potatoes with Sulguni).
  • Svaneti is also famous for its local alcohol made from fruits such as elderberry, and even honey.
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