Food is not idolized in Georgia; however, when expecting guests the table is rich and generous and the host's capability to afford the hearty feast is out of question in Georgia. The thing is that it is unthinkable to admit that one is poor.
Georgian cuisine does not fall under the classical concept where traditional meal is subdivided into the first and the second courses. It's easier to classify Georgian dishes into city and village dishes. Khashi for instance belongs in the class of city dishes, as Khashi is said to be prepared exceptionally in the cities. Although it's soup, Kashi is eaten at breakfast mostly by men, as it is wonderful means against hangover.
Georgian doctors prescribe Khashi to their patients suffering from fraction of bones, as the soup helps the bones knit. The dish is prepared basically from the "remains" - beef chitterlings, plain tripe and knuckles. Assumingly the soup was invented by common people. The legend says, when rich families were slaughtering cattle, they would give the remaining parts of the cattle to their servants, who found a good application for them. However, after a night spent drinking alcohol, the rich family members would set off to the pubs early morning in order to eat Khashi and regain comely images.
Khinkali is another dish calculated for circle of close friends. Well-prepared Khinkali should have juice in its contents, that's why one should eat it with a hand, not with a fork.
Khinkali is not a city dish. It is an invention of the mountain residents. The best Khinkali is prepared in mountainous Khevsureti, Pshavi and Tusheti. Khinkali is the main dish at every feast in these mountainous regions. All the women of the village have to prepare Khinkali together, as it requires a hard and assiduous preparation. Meanwhile men take care of the fire and huge vat full of Khinkali to avoid overcooking. As for famous Khevsureti beer, it should already be prepared by that time.
Valley cuisine is also peculiar. In eastern Georgia, which is inhabited by valley Kakhetians, cuisine is moderate with its taste and quality and is simple in ingredients. For example, Khashlama is but a cooked beef with salt and greens. But Kakheti has the best Churchkhela and Pelamushi - little luxuries made of grape juice and flour prepared just at the end of grape harvest - Rtveli.
Food in Kakheti is just as guileless as the Kakhetians themselves. They will invite you into their houses only once and if you refuse this invitation even if only out of courtesy, do not expect to be invited again. You should not be surprised when Kakhetian leads his/her guest to the wine cellar first and then into the house. Kakhetians like to boast on their wine that is kept in the huge clay jugs down in the cellar. He will surely tell you the age and type of the wine he had made himself. Then he will let you taste his wine from a clay cup, however only after the toast has been pronounced. That's when the hostess comes down with flat prolonged bread Lavashi baked in the special oven (Tone) and ovine cheese.
In the west of Georgia residents of Imereti or Samegrelo will insist on entering their houses even if they have nothing in the kitchen that could be offered to the guest. However, food always appears on the table, God knows how. In a blink the fireplace will be glowing with fire and a tripod will be placed there for Ghomi (hominy) and clay frying pans will be ready for Khachapuri.
A bulk of the dishes popularizing Georgian cuisine - Chakhokhbili, Kharcho, Satsebela, Kupati, Satsivi, Elarji, Ajika come originally from these very regions. West Georgian cuisine is spicier than the eastern Georgian. In Samegrelo food is itself hot with pepper but the table should have pepper pods and extremely hot Ajika anyway.
Nobody forgets Georgian cuisine. In fact, itís one the major attractions of the country and definitely, an expression of our culture. Georgian food isnít not only exquisite and unique, but extremely tasty as well. Here is a list of the most popular Georgian food:
- Chakapuli - Lamb and plums in herb sauce. Very tasty!
- Chakhokhbili - Georgian dish made from chicken and sauce with tomato and herbs. The dish can be served for any occasion thanks to its delicious tender taste.
- Chanahi - Lamb, eggplants, and potatoes, baked in layers in a pot with fresh tomatoes and herbs - simply mouthwatering!
- Chashushuli - Juicy meat stewed with onion, tomatoes and herbs on ketsi - try and you will not regret it!
- Chikhirtma - Chicken soup with eggs whipped in vinegar, flavored with garlic, parsley and fennel.
- Chkmeruli - Fried chicken in garlic sauce.
- Eggplants stuffed with nuts - The refined taste of this dish is hard to describe Ö For example, if "Bounty" is a paradise pleasure, then eggplants with nuts are "Damn Tasty"!
- Elardzhi - This is something you have surely never tried! Most gentle paste half corn cereal and half sulguni, airy like dream, and hot like lovers' breath Ö Do not let elardzhi cool down, or the charm may all be gone!
- Gomi - Gomi is dense, pasty dish made from corn and wheat flour (without salt or spices). It is served hot instead of bread to spicy dishes.
- Kaurma - Kaurma is a dish made from lamb giblets with spices, Georgian stew.
- Khachapuri - Khachapuri is traditional Georgian dish, a pie with big quantity of cheese as filling. It looks like a patty and can be made with open or hidden filling. True khachapuri is made on Matsoni, special sour milk.
- Khashi - A heady broth of stomach, udder, entrails, bones and other sundry parts of a pig, laden with garlic, it is prized as much as for its curative powers: It's guaranteed to kick out even the worst of bad hangovers!
- Khinkali - Khinkali is a kind of Georgian Pelmeni (boiled pastries with meat filling). Well-prepared Khinkali should have juice in its contents, that's why one should eat it with a hand, not with a fork.
- Kuchmachi - Beef liver, lungs, and heart diced with spices, lose its original taste and get the new one - completely inexpressible and unique.
- Kupaty - Kupaty are small sausages from fat pork mincemeat fried on hot charcoals.
- Lobio in pot - Red beans boiled to density, seasoned with fried onion, spices, and herbs and smells mouthwatering. We recommend it with mchadi instead of bread, or if you do not like corn flat breads, with tonne lavash.
- Mtsvadi - is a traditional Georgian Kebab. Delicious meat is served with table wine and much of green.
- Satsivi - Nut sauce-bazhe is very similar to satsivi, but it's lighter and more dietary as it does not contain flour or eggs, although the taste isnít worse, but even better. Chicken or turkey boiled in flavor broth in bazhe sauce - is there anything more delicious?
- Spinach Pkhali - Donít you like spinach? Try Pkhali! Nuts and spices with spinach are delicious, that you even forget how healthy it is!
- Adjika - Traditional Georgian hot sauce. Itís a mix of red or green hot pepper, spices and salt.
- Dzhonzholi - Dzhonzholi is unblown inflorescence of dzhonzholi tree pickled in barrel with special spices, it is considered king of pickles in Georgia. Seasoned with special spices, it is considered king of pickles in Georgia. Seasoned with vegetable oil and onion, it is a very tasty starter.
Georgian table is very strict but not restrictive. It disciplines those present. The table has Tamada who is chosen due to his age or wit. He leads the feast, which is usually accompanied with music, joyfully. Everyone at the table should drink for the proposed toast. All toasts are made with wine and only wine, and the glass must be full at the start of the toast! There are two exceptions worth reporting: it is considered to be an insult to toast anyone with beer; but there may be a beery toast (like joke).
Georgian culture wields special table songs that are tuneful and are performed by the choir. At celebrations people very often perform dances. With the permission of the Tamada, dancers may leave the table and compete in dancing. Those present might also compete in telling jokes, eloquence and toast that are done impromptu. Usually the toasts are very long and eloquent. Thus the event is celebrated not only with alcohol but also with attitude, laughter, jokes, quotations from popular Georgian literature, dances, songs and toasts.