Georgia is an often overlooked and misunderstood country. Located in the intersection of Eastern Europe and Western Asia, its culture reflects just how varied the culture of Georgia truly is. Surrounded by Turkey, Armenia, Russia, and Azerbaijan, Georgia has a culture all of its own that’s also been influenced by the cultures surrounding it. If you’re planning to visit the country, one of the most exciting things to do is enjoy the delicious food there.
First things first, there’s simply no way you can go to Georgia without trying khachapuri Adjaruli. It’s a bread boat filled with delicious, melty cheese and topped with a generous pat of butter and an egg — how could that not be good?? The “correct” way to start tackling this treat is to break apart the egg yolk and swirl all the fillings together to create a perfect harmony of flavors. While there are a lot of different types of khachapuri, the Anjaruli variation is the clear favorite amongst locals and visitors alike, even becoming the country’s national dish.
Chuchkhela is another well known Georgian treat, which is visually intriguing as well as delicious. You’ll find these typically hanging in the windows of many shops. They’re made of grape juice concentrate that is typically left over from the annual harvest for wine and is then poured painstakingly over and over on top of strands of walnuts. Once the concentrate has created a thick outer layer, the treat is finally finished. Since it is so shelf stable, this was often given to Georgian soldiers when they’ve gone to war. Now they’re usually enjoyed at home with coffee.
Khinkali are basically Georgian soup dumplings that are characterized by the amount of folds they have. Traditionally, anything less than 20 is considered unacceptable. They are typically eaten without any cutlery, so feel free to just pick one up in your hands — but make sure you get the technique down. Grab it from the top, bite a small hole in the side, and drink the broth before enjoying the delicious dough.
Ajapsandali is a garlicky spicy combination of eggplant, peppers, and tomatoes livened up with the local ajika spice and flavored with cilantro. It is a sort of Georgian answer to ratatouille, and is made in the oven. It is often enjoyed during the summer but can be a wonderful warming dish to have in the cold winter months as well.
Lobio is a rich and hearty kidney bean stew that’s full of flavor and has a wonderful, thick consistency. The beans are slow cooked and then crushed in a mortar and pestle in order to achieve the signature texture. Then, the beans are added to a concoction of fried onions, cilantro, vinegar, dried marigold, and chillies. Lobio is frequently served with Georgian cornbread called mchadi, which makes it a perfect, comforting dish.
Tkalpi is another Georgian sweet, which is quite similar to fruit leather. It is actually quite simple: fruit puree is spread out into a thin sheet and left to dry in the sun. There are plenty of sweet varieties but there are some sour ones made as well, which will then be added to dishes like soups and stews. You can find tkalpi being sold on the side of the highway outside of the major cities.