First timer’s guide to Georgian food

The only thing we can think of comparing Georgian cuisine to is a Georgian song – both come straight from the heart, and you’re bound to fall in love them. Georgia has always had close ties with Russia, and Georgian fare has been as much of a popular favorite in the Soviet times as it is now. It’s very much meat-centered, and meat dishes are complemented with loads of fragrant greens, homemade cheeses, special flatbread, and amazing sauces. For those who are new to the cuisine and have no inkling as to what the dishes are all about, which in all fairness can be quite challenging given the fact that they can be quite extraordinary in terms of their names alone, here are  some of the must-tries at a Georgian restaurant – or in Georgia?

 

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Публикация от Хинкальная на Неве (@hinkalnaya_na_neve)

 

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Публикация от Хинкальная Тольятти (@hinkalnayatlt)

Khachapuri

Probably the most common dish in Georgia, period. It’s basically a type of bread, baked with a generous cheese filling and usually topped off with a meat or vegetable based ingredient. They are eaten on the go, on the way to work, and at expensive restaurants, and are basically indispensable. There are local varieties in every part of the country, with the main ones being Adjarian, Imereti and Megrelian. Adjarian is the most impressive visually. It looks like a dough boat filled with sizzling hot suluguni cheese and a raw egg sitting on top. When it’s served, it’s best to swirl the two fillings together, and start breaking off pieces of dough and dunking it into the mixture. Imereti khachapuri is a closed one, and may come with a variety of fillings – veggie, meat, chicken, or beans, besides the classic cheese.

 

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Публикация от Argo VIP (@argo_vip)

 

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Публикация от Argo VIP (@argo_vip)

Khinkali

A staple in the Far East and Central Asia, khinkali must have made their way to Georgia with the Tartar invasion, and stayed to become a favorite. These large soup dumplings are meat-filled, and while there are other varieties, unless you’re a vegetarian, try the meat ones first. There are two distinct arts – making the khinkali and eating the khinkali. Learning to eat it properly is the first priority, so here you go: 1) grab it by the topknot; 2) bite a small hole through the dough; 3) slurp the broth out of the khinkali; 4) dip in auce and eat the rest, discarding the top knot; 5) repeat.

 

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Публикация от Хаш Лаваш🌶Кавказская кухня (@hash_lavash)

 

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Публикация от 🇬🇪ОТЕЛЬ «ДАВИД»|HOTEL «DAVID» (@davidhotel995)

Kharcho

Translated simply as beef soup, it’s anything but simple in taste. It is, in fact, a complex mix of, well, beef, as you may have guessed, chopped walnuts, dried plum puree, garlic, fragrant herbs, spices, rice and tomatoes. FYI — this thick, hearty, fragrant soup is a perfect hangover choice.

 

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Публикация от Хочу Пури (@hochu_puri)

 

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Публикация от Ресторан «Даиси» (@daisicafe)

 

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Публикация от Трактир Кинто (@traktir_kinto72)

Adjapsandali

No, it’s not just another name for a boring vegetable stew that you’ve seen a million times. How is it different? Well, the vegetables are oven roasted, so thjey acquire a special aroma and remain whole, rather than disintegrating into a mushy semi-pureed dish. Secondly – well, it’s Georgian food, so by now you now – it’s spicy! Bell peppers and eggplants are the main ingredients, and tomato puree and cilantro hold them together.

 

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Публикация от Argo VIP (@argo_vip)

Lobio

Just when you thought kidney beans were the most boring food ever, lobio bursts in to surprise you. To liven the dish up Georgians add cilantro, chili peppers, dried marigold, lots of fried onions and a splash of vinegar. The resulting bean stew is filling, and requires mchadi (corn bread) on the side for a full effect.

 

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Публикация от Paprikakorica54 (@paprikakorica54)

 

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Публикация от Ресторан Бакинский Дворик (@bakinskiy.dvorik)

 

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Публикация от 💂Мизандари (@vmizandari)

 

Pkhali

This name unites a group of vegetable pâtés, made basically with any available vegetable. The most common varieties are beet and spinach, mushrooms, cabbage and carrots are also frequently used. The vegetable is boiled, pureed and mixed with lemon juice, garlic, ground walnuts and cilantro. Throw in a flatbread, and you have yourself a great starter!

 

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Публикация от Megobari (@megobari.wine)

 

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Публикация от Yulia Yulina (@yyulina2001)

Mtsvadi

This is the general term for meat grilled on an open fire. It can be a large piece of meat that is later on cut up into smaller portions, or small pieces of meat grilled on a skewer. Traditionally, there aren’t any spices used, and the meat isn’t marinated, but you’ll be amazed how little is needed for a perfect dish – the freshest meat, a dash of salt and experienced hands. Tkemali, a sour plum sauce, is a must – there are several varieties, and all of them mouthwatering.

 

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Публикация от Geo Holiday (@geoholiday)

 

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Публикация от Грузинский Ресторан 🇬🇪 Москва📍 (@chacha_room)

Georgian wine

No Georgian meal is complete without wine, and, naturally, Georgian wine complements it best. The history of winemaking in Georgia is said to have started at least 8000 years ago, and the years haven’t gone by in vain. It is widely believed that this is where wine production first began. In fact, the word “wine” is derived from “gvino” – the Georgian word for wine. Here are a few of the most well-known varieties and the fare they work best with.

 

Rkatsiteli (dry white) – poultry, wild fowl, ripe cheese, mtsvadi

Tsinandali (dry white) – poultry, fish, pkhali

Khvanchkara (semisweet red) – wild fowl, poultry, vegetables, nuts, blue cheese

Kindzmarauli (semisweet red) – fruit and dessert

Mykuzani (dry red) – mtsvadi, spicy dishes, goat cheese

Saperavi (dry red) – meat, spicy dishes, greens

 

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Публикация от Кафе «Есть хинкали&пить вино» (@eatkhinkali)

Enjoy your first encounter with Georgian cuisine!

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