Tbilisi hosts national cheese festival

Cheese-makers from all over the country flocked to the capital city on November 8 to showcase their creations to locals and visitors. Photo by N.Alavidze/Agenda.ge
Agenda.ge, 10 Nov 2014 - 18:42, Tbilisi,Georgia

Unique varieties of sweet, salty, smoky and creamy traditional Georgian cheese were on show at an outdoor cheese festival in Tbilisi on Saturday.

Cheese-makers from all over the country flocked to the capital city on November 8 to showcase their creations to locals and visitors.

Georgian cheese in honey. Photo by N.Alavidze/Agenda.ge

More than 50varieties of cheese from small suppliers to large production enterprises were presented at the festival, which was aptly called ‘80 centuries of Georgian cheeses and its European Future’. The event was held at the exhibition center Expo Georgia.

At the annual festival, ancient cheese-making recipes were encouraged and two types of new cheese - Meskhetian cheese aged in billy goat’s rumen and Adjarian Shushvela – were debuted to the large crowd.

Winner Meskhetian cheese aged in billy goat’s rumen. Photo by N.Alavidze

The Meskhetian cheese was made from mixed goat and cows’ milk and butter, and later stored and aged in the intestines of a young goat. At least 45 days was needed for the cheese to age and develop its unique taste.

Adjarian cheese. Photo by N.Alavidze/Agenda.ge

Georgia’s Ministry of Agriculture and the Guild of Cheese Producers organised the event. Agriculture Minister Otar Danelia emphasized that similar events aimed to promote Georgian cheese and revive Georgia’s lost varieties of cheese.

"In Georgia, the cheese production culture is as old as wine. The Ministry of Agriculture will continue to support Georgia’s cheese-making traditions and help raise awareness of national products around the globe. This will help Georgian products establish a strong position in the European market,” Danelia said.

At the festival visitors were able to taste rare and boutique cheese varieties and watch cheese-making demonstrations. In addition, 14 titles of milk products already registered by the National Intellectual Property Centre were display at the event.

Here are enough  cheese for everyone. Photo by N.Alavidze/Agenda.ge

A competition was held throughout the day where visitors could select their favourite cheese. People’s choice and top cheese manufacturer were awarded to two cheese-makers.

In total, 12 Georgian companies won awards from eight categories.

Cheese Co. was the winner of the people’s choice category while Tibaani won the category of most original and unique cheese manufacturer. The most original presentation was awarded to House of Sanata and the best newly renovated Georgian cheese was the unique cheese that had been aged inside billy goat’s rumen made by Galina Inasaridze.