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When you arrive in Tbilisi, border agents don't just stamp your passport; they hand you a bottle of wine. It's a fitting welcome to Georgia, a mountainous country sandwiched between Europe and Asia, where dinner guests are exalted as "gifts from God" and traditional feasts called supras unfold in biblical proportions, sometimes lasting for days on end. It's easy to lose track of time at the Georgian table.


Khinkali is a Georgian Dumping, which originated in the Georgian mountain regions of Pshavi, Mtiuleti and Khevsureti. Verieties of Khinkali is spread in different parts of the Caucasus. Khinkali is eaten plain, or with ground black pepper. The meat filling is uncooked when the khinkali is assembled, so, when it is cooked, the juices of the meat are trapped inside the dumpling. To make khinkali juicier usually warm water or broth is added to the minced meat. The khinkali is typically consumed first by sucking the juices while taking the first bite, in order to prevent the dumpling from bursting.

Khachapuri Adjaruli

Adjaruli Khachapuri is the most famous Georgian cheese bread. It originates from Georgia’s incredibly beautiful region of Adjara, located in the country's southwestern corner. Adjaruli Khachapuri is the king of Adjarian cuisine. This kind of khachapuri has a boat-like shape and is served with partially cooked egg in the middle of cheese along with a generous chunk of butter on the top. Before consuming the filling is mixed well and only afterwards you have to tear a piece of bread and dip in the hearthy chessey souce. This is quite an enjoyable and fun process.


Achma is one of the interpretations of Khachapuri. The cooking technology is quite different from the classic Khachapuri. Achma is often compared to lasagna for its texture and appearance. This kind of Georgian cheese bread has both a crisp top crust and tender cheesy, butter layers inside.


Grilled or roasted meat crops up across the Caucasus and Near East with subtle country specific variations. Mtsvadi is essentially meat on a skewer that is roasted over an open flame. The meat, which is typically pork, beef or lamb, is seasoned, skewered alongside vegetables and cooked; similar to the Turkish shish kebab. What sets mtsvadi apart from similar regional rivals, are the Georgian spices used to bring out the flavors of the meat.


Chakapuli is a popular Georgian stew made with lamb or beef, dry white wine, tarragon leaves, unripe (sour) green plums, green onions, green peppers, green coriander, garlic and salt. It is popular in the Spring when the plums are unripe.


Pkhali, a family of salads that might be better described as vegetable pâtés, are made with whatever vegetable is on hand (beets, carrots, and spinach are common) and served over bread. The method is foolproof, to boot: Just boil the veg of choice, purée, and squeeze in some lemon juice, minced garlic, and a handful each of cilantro and ground walnuts for good measure. Georgian cooks will often whip up several types of pkhali, plating them side by side and sprinkling the tops with pomegranate seeds.


Georgian mchadi with sulugunia is a hot unleavened flat cake of corn meal, served with cheese suluguni. It is good with tomatoes, and also with any dish of beans.

Khachapuri Imeruli

This cheese-filled Georgian flatbread has its roots in the west-central region of Imereti, but by now it is a popular part of the elaborate feasts, known as supras, held across the country. Georgians typically make this savory pastry with a mixture of imeruli and sulguni cheese. We find that a blend of low moisture mozzarella and strong, tart feta gets you very close to the traditional version.


At the New Year honey augurs the sweetness of the year to come. Sometimes a honeycomb is symbolically touched to children's lips, but all the Georgian children would rather eat Gozinaki, the New Year's threat of nuts candied in honey. Toast the walnuts lightly, then chop them coarsely. Stir boiled honey in the nuts and cook, until the mixture is thick. Pour the mixture out onto moistened wooden board. When spread it, cool it and cut it.


Perhaps the most eye-catching Georgian food of all, churchkela are the lumpy, colorful confections hanging in storefront windows, which tourists often mistake for sausages. Making churchkhela takes patience and practice: Concentrated grape juice (left over from the yearly wine harvest) must be poured repeatedly over strands of walnuts. Each layer is left to dry until a chewy, waxy exterior envelops the nuts. Nowadays, churchkhela are more often served at home with postprandials and coffee.


For snacking, Georgians enjoy a sweet fruit leather made from the tkemali plum. To make sour tklapi: Take ripe sour plums, cut them in hulf, and remove the pits. Place in a saucepan, add just enough water so that they won't burn, and bring to a boil. Cook slowly until the fruit is soft. Place several smooth layers of newspaper on a table and top them with a piece of baking parchment. Iron it gently. Leave to dry four 24 hours.

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