Georgian food is quite appropriately an expression of Georgian culture. Georgia was one of the countries on the Silk Road, which resulted in travelers influencing Georgian cuisine. The Georgian love of family and friends is one of the reasons why the supra (tablecloth) is so important in Georgia. Supra is offered spontaneously to relatives, friends or guests. Every supra has its toastmaster, who gives the toast and entertains the guests.
Every region of Georgia has its own distinct style of food preparation.
Throughout the centuries, Georgian food has been influenced by the Mediterranean world, Arab and Mongol flavours, Persian and Ottoman kitchens, the link stretching as far as Northern India. Today’s Georgian food and cuisine is a rich interplay between Mediterranean and Middle Eastern tastes. Traditional Georgian cuisine combines fresh meats, fresh vegetables, herbs, and spices into distinctly flavorful dishes that are considered among the healthiest in the world.
Here is the shortlist of most popular Georgian dishes that you need to try while traveling in Georgia.
Khinkali are Georgian dumplings. They’re one of the country’s most popular foods “No supra is complete without a platter of steaming khinkali being served toward the end of the meal,” says Carla Capalbo, author of Tasting Georgia, who shared this recipe with F&W. “The dumplings make a warming complement to the feast’s complex flavours.” Khinkali may be stuffed with vegetable fillings, such as potato or mushroom, but these meat versions—with a brothy spiced-meat filling, like soup dumplings—are the most common. They’re designed to be eaten by hand: Hold each dumpling aloft by its stem (like an open umbrella), sprinkle it with black pepper, and take a small bite from the side of the cushiony top, sucking out the hot broth before chewing your way into the filling. Discard the doughy stem. (You’ll have more room for dumplings that way.)
The unique Georgian cheese-filled bread, khachapuri, is the best rated dish on the first global local food atlas, TasteAtlas, and is included among 100 best dishes in the world revealed by the food professionals.
khachapuri is the most famous dish in Georgia. No Georgian feast in ever complete without Khachapuri. All the regions of Georgia have their own recipes of Khachapuri. The difference lies not only in their shapes and recipes but ingredients as well.
The pastry is traditionally topped with melted cheese, eggs and butter. There are different types of khachapuri but it is usually filled with Georgian Sulguni or Imeretian cheese. Three of the most common varieties include the Imeretian khachapuri, shaped into a circular form, Adjarian khachapuri, the open-faced version topped with butter and a raw egg on top and Megrelian Khachapuri shaped into a circular form and topped with melted cheese.
These Georgian mtsvadi, or grilled meat skewers, are made from well-marbled pork shoulder tossed with raw onions and finished with freshly squeezed pomegranate juice. Leave the fat intact for sizzling, juicy meat with plenty of crispy bits. In Georgia, the skewers are often grilled over the embers of grape vines. They’re traditionally served with tkemali, a fantastically sour plum sauce. Mtsvadi can be made with pork, mutton or veal. Beef should be used only if all other options are unavailable. This is in Georgian genes. We’ve enjoyed it since ancient times and mtsvadi is subconsciously bound to our distant ancestors’ ritual of roasting meat over a fire after a hunt.
Pkhali is a cold vegetarian appetizer, popular Georgian tapas. A mélange of spice-rich walnut paste, fresh herbs and vinegar is added to vegetables, fried or boiled. Pkhali is often garnished with pomegranate seeds, which enhances the mild acidity with a sour, fruity finish. So if you’re looking for a unique, interesting and healthy dish to make for any occasion that will also suit both vegans and vegetarians, then make sure to check out Pkhali.
Baked Mushroom With Sulguni Cheese
This dish consists of mushrooms filled with Sulguni cheese baked in buttery broth in traditional Georgian clay “ketsi” dishes. Sounds delish, right? If you’re a mushroom and cheese lover, you’d be chomping on these like popcorn.