Serious Eats: “The 10 Dishes That Will Make You Fall in Love With Georgian Food”

A selection of traditional Georgian food. Photo from Georgian National Tourism Administration., Oct 08, 2015, Tbilisi, Georgia

"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,” writes Benjamin Kemper for Serious Eats.

It's easy to lose track of time at the Georgian table. On a recent visit to the country's capital, I joined some friends for a dinner that entailed a dizzying array of salads, followed by steaming vats of heady stews and braises, gallons of orange wine, and occasional forays into polyphonic harmony, a signature feature of Georgian folk music. Staggering back to my hotel at 4 a.m., stuffed and delirious, I felt like I had emerged from a culinary fever dream.”

The author has compiled a list of the 10 dishes that will make you fall in love with Georgian food. He says there are certain dishes you shouldn't leave Georgia (or a Georgian restaurant) without tasting. "These are the non-negotiables - the unforgettable bites that keep Georgia on my mind, and in my kitchen".

On the list was the infamous soup-dumpling khinkali, the lumpy, colourful confectionary hanging in storefront windows called churchkhela, and of ajapsandali – Georgia’s take on ratatouille.

But don’t forget the calorie-dense bread-egg-butter combination of Adjarulian khachapuri, writes Kemper.

A molten canoe of carbohydrates and dairy, the quantity of sulguni cheese alone inkhachapuri Adjaruli is enough to land a lactose-intolerant friend in the ER. But the decadence doesn't end there.

Seconds after the bread is pulled from the toné, a baker parts the cheese to make way for a final flourish: hunks of butter and a cracked raw egg. When the bubbling mass is placed before you, you must wield your spoon fearlessly and, working from the yolk out, vigorously swirl the ingredients together until hypnotizing spirals of orange and white begin to appear. At this point—and God forbid the mixture get cold—tear off a corner of bread and dunk with conviction.”

This is how Adjarians eat khachapuri, an umbrella genre of cheese-filled breads that are sold hot at hole-in-the-wall bakeries around the country. While each region has its favorite iteration of khachapuri—vegetables, meats, or legumes may be added—khachapuri Adjaruli has eclipsed the competition to become Georgia's national dish.”

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