Georgian national cuisine is notable for an abundance of meat, fish, and vegetable hors d’oeuvres, many varieties of cheese, pickles, and unique pungent seasonings.A guest invited to the Georgian table is first of all invited to eat golden-brown khachapuri which is a thin pie filled with mildly salted cheese; then he is offered lobio (kidney bean or ripened green beans) for which every family has its own recipe; stewed chicken in garlic sauce; small river fish called “tsotskhali” cooked alive; sheet-fish in vinegar with finely chopped fennel; lori, a type of ham; muzhuzhi, boiled, pickled pig’s legs; “sulguni” cheese roasted in butter; pickled eggplants and green tomatoes which are filled with the walnut paste seasoned with vinegar, pomegranate grains and aromatic herbs; and the vegetable dish “pkhali” made of finely chopped beet leaves or of spinach mixed with the walnut paste, pomegranate grains and various spices.
In East Georgia you will be offered wheaten bread baked on the walls of a “tone”, a large cylindrical clay oven from which “tones puri” gets its name. In West Georgia you will be treated to hot corn paddies (“mchadi”) baked on clay frying-pans, or “ketsi.” Khinkali, peppered mutton dumplings, is a favorite mountain dish among locals and visitors alike. Like everywhere in the Caucasus, mtsvadi (meat skewers) is very popular in Georgia. Depending on the season, you can try pork, mutton, or beef mtsvadi.
The splendor of Georgian cuisine is supplemented with Georgia’s famous white and red dry wines, which come in many flavors: “Mukhuzani” with a pleasant bitter taste; golden cool “Tetra;” straw-coloured “Tsinandali” with a sour, crystaline touch; dark amber-coloured and slightly astringent “Teliani,” mildly sweet, ruby “Ojaleshi;” emerald, sparkling “Manavi;” garnet-red honey-flavored “Kindzmarauli;” velvety crimson “Khvanchkara;” light-green “Gurjaani;” dark golden fruity “Tibaani;” and many others. Combined with the plethora of champagnes, cognacs, mineral waters, and fruit juices, Georgia truly has a drink to match each of the flavors of its national cuisine!