Georgian cuisine (Georgian: ქართული სამზარეულო, translit.: kartuli samzareulo) is the traditional cuisine of Georgia. Georgian cuisine has similarities with Persian and Caucasus cuisine. Every region of Georgia has its own distinct style of food preparation. Eating and drinking are important parts of Georgian culture.
Georgia was one of the countries on the Silk Road, which resulted in travelers influencing Georgian cuisine. The Georgian love of family and friends is one of the reasons why the feast supra (tablecloth) is so important in Georgia. Supra is offered spontaneously to relatives, friends or guests. Every supra has its tamada (toastmaster), who gives the toast and entertains the guests.
Abkhazian cuisine uses a lot of spices and walnuts.
- The most popular dishes from Abkhazia are Abysta (porridge made of corn, similar to the Mingrelian Ghomi), Apyrpylchara (pepper skin stuffed with walnut sauce), Achma (a variation of Khachapuri), Aritsvmgeli (corn bread with walnut), Achash (Abkhaz chudu, with cheese), Achapa (kidney beans with walnut).
- The most popular dessert is Akuarkuar, a cookie with honey.
- The most famous Abkhaz wines are Lykhny, Apsny, and Anakopia.
Adjarian cuisine is considered a very diversified cuisine, which was influenced by its nature (seaside, mountainous part) and by history.
- In the mountainous Adjara, the main products are dairy products and the dishes are more fat and heavy and on the other side, in the seaside of the region, dishes are mostly spiced, and use a lot of fresh herbs.
- The most popular dishes in Adjara are Adjaruli Khachapuri (აჭარული ხაჭაპური), Borano (ბორანო - chopped cheese fried in ghee), Chirbuli (ჩირბული - omelette with walnuts and tomato), Khavitsi (ხავიწი - Porridge of corn with ghee), Sinori (სინორი, made of Nadughi and unleavened dough), Pakhlava (პახლავა - a version of the Turkish Baklava) and Shaqarlama (შაქარლამა - a biscuit).
The cuisine of Guria is based mostly on poultry (especially chicken meat), corn-bread (Mchadi) and on walnuts, like the cuisine of Imereti.
- The most popular dishes from Guria are Satsivi (საცივი - meat, mostly of chicken/turkey in walnut sauce called bazhe), Mchadi (მჭადი - Cornbread), Kupati (კუპატი - sausage made from pork meat), Badrijani Nigvzit (ბადრიჯანი ნიგვზით - fried eggplant with walnut sauce), Pkhali (ფხალი) and Kuchmachi (კუჭმაჭი - chicken livers with walnut sauce and pomegranate).
The cuisine of Imereti shares a lot of affinities with the neighbouring region of Guria and is known to use a lot of walnuts.
- The most famous Imeretian dishes include Imeruli Khachapuri (იმერული ხაჭაპური - the most common version of the Georgian cheese bread), Mchadi (მჭადი - Cornbread), Pkhali (ფხალი), Kuchmachi (კუჭმაჭი - chicken livers with walnut sauce and pomegranate), Soko (სოკო - fried mushrooms), Lobio (ლობიო - mashed red beans with spices), Badrijani Nigvzit (ბადრიჯანი ნიგვზით - fried eggplant with walnut sauce), Chakhokhbili (ჩახოხბილი - tomato-based soup with poultry meat), Mtsnili (მწნილი - pickled vegetables such as cucumbers, cabbage, beets, and jonjoli), Kupati (კუპატი - sausage made of pork) and Satsivi (საცივი - meat, mostly of chicken/turkey in walnut sauce called bazhe).
- Imereti is also famous for its cheeses such as Chkinti (ჭყინტი - Salty cheese), Imeruli Kveli (იმერული ყველი) and also Sulguni (სულგუნი).
Kakhetian cuisine is considered to be a more meat-based cuisine and the region itself is called the "Region of Wine". It is also known as the birth-place of one type of Georgian bread, Tonis Puri.
- Notable dishes from Kakheti include Mtsvadi (მწვადი - meat cooked on fire), Chakapuli (ჩაქაფული - soup made of fresh herbs such as tarragon and meat of sheep or lamb), Khinkali (ხინკალი - dumplings filled with meat and seasoned with herbs), Khashlama (ხაშლამა - boiled meat of beef or lamb), Khashi (ხაში - boiled meat, often eaten after Supra), Chanakhi (ჩანახი - soup made of lamb and tomatoes), Chikhirtma (ჩიხირთმა - soup made of chicken meat), and Ajapsandali (აჯაფსანდალი - kind of ragout made of eggplants, potatoes and tomatoes).
- In Kakheti, they make famous desserts such as Churchkhela (ჩურჩხელა - Candy made of grape juice and walnuts), and Pelamushi (ფელამუში - Dessert made of grape juice).
- Kakheti is also well known for its wines, such as Alazani, Akhasheni, Saperavi, and Kindzmarauli.
Kartli is known as a very rich region in terms of fruits (especially apples, apricots, figs, and peaches) and vegetables (especially cucumbers, tomatoes, and onions).
- Kartlian dishes include Puris Kharcho (პურის ხარჩო - a kind of soup made of bread), Shechamandi (შეჭამანდი - soup made of dogwood or docks), Jonjoli (ჯონჯოლი - pickles made of Bladdernuts), Chakhrakina (ჭახრაკინა - a kind of Khachapuri filled with cheese and beetroot leaves), Khabizgina (ხაბიზგინა - Ossetian Khachapuri filled with cheese and potatoes), and Chakapuli (ჩაქაფული - soup made of fresh herbs and meat of lamb or beef).
The regional cuisine of Mingrelia can be considered as the most famous in Georgia. It uses a lot of spices and walnuts.
- Famous Mingrelian dishes include Ghomi (ღომი - porridge made of corn meal), Elarji (ელარჯი - ghomi with Sulguni), Gebzhalia (გებჟალია - rolls of cheese seasoned with mint), Mingrelian Khachapuri (მეგრული ხაჭაპური - Khachapuri with cheese added on the top), Kupati (კუპატი - sausage made from pork), Tabaka (ტაბაკა - chicken cooked with Ajika), and Kharcho (ხარჩო - soup with beef).
- Sulguni (სულგუნი) is traditionally made in the region.
- Ajika (აჯიკა) is a sauce made of pepper and spices. It is made traditionally in Mingrelia and in Abkhazia.
Mtianeti, Khevi, Khevsureti, Pshavi and Tusheti
These cuisines are often considered as one due to their similarities.
- Famous dishes include Khinkali (ხინკალი - dumplings filled with meat, potatoes or cottage cheese), Gordila (გორდილა - boiled dough), Qaghi (ყაღი - dried and salted meat), Kaurma (ყაურმა - a kind of soup made from meat), Kotori (კოტორი - Khachapuri filled with cottage cheese), Khachoerbo (ხაჭოერბო - dried cottage cheese in a ball shape) and Khavitsi (ხავიწი - melted cheese)
- Tusheti also produces a goat / sheep based cheese, called Guda (გუდა).
- These regions are also well known for their beer (ლუდი) and alcohol, Zhipitauri (ჟიპიტაური).
The cuisines of Racha and of Lechkhumi share most of their dishes and are often grouped into one cuisine as a consequence.
- Notable dishes include Shkmeruli (შქმერული - chicken in a sauce made of cream and garlic), Lori (ლორი - pork bacon), Lobiani (ლობიანი - a kind of Khachapuri filled with kidney beans and lori), Lobio (ლობიო - mashed kidney beans with spices), Rachuli Khachapuri (რაჭული ხაჭაპური - a kind of Khachapuri made into a square form).
The Cuisine of Samtskhe-Javakheti consists of two regional cuisines: Meskhetian and Javakhetian. Due to their similarities, they are often considered as one regional cuisine. This cuisine differs significantly from other regional cuisine of Georgia, partly because of its heavy use of goose meat and historical Turkish rule of the region.
- Famous dishes from Samtskhe-Javakheti include Batis Shechamandi (ბატის შეჭამანდი - soup made of goose), Meskhuri Khinkali (მესხური ხინკალი - Khinkali filled with goose), Apokhti (აპოხტი - dried meat of lamb, beef, goose and duck), Tatarboragi (თათარბორაგი - boiled dough), and Rdzis Korkoti (რძის კორკოტი - wheat grains boiled in milk).
- Snails or Lokokina (ლოკოკინა) are also a very common dish in the region due to the presence of French Catholics in the past.
- Samtskhe-Javakheti is also famous for its Chiri (ჩირი - dried fruits), Tklapi (ტყლაპი - fruit roll-up) and Tenili (ტენილი - a preserved, hand-pulled cheese).
- Main dishes from Svaneti include Kubdari (კუბდარი - also known as Svan Khachapuri, a kind of Khachapuri filled with seasoned pork), Chvishtari (ჭვიშტარი - Mchadi with Sulguni inside), Lutspeq (ლუცფექ - boiled barley grains seasoned with pepper and garlic), Kharshil (ხარშილ - soup of barley and urtica), Tashmijabi (თაშმიჯაბი - mashed potatoes with Sulguni).
- Svaneti is also famous for its local alcohol made from fruits such as elderberry, and even honey.
- Abkhazura (აფხაზურა): Caul fat rolled meatballs from Abkhazia.
- Achma (აჩმა): A dish with multiple layers of cheese and bread. It bears resemblance to a sauceless lasagna.
- Ajapsandali (აჯაფსანდალი): A traditional Georgian meal. Consists of eggplants, potatoes, onions and spices.
- Badrijnis Khizilala (ბადრიჯნის ხიზილალა): Fried and chopped eggplants. The name means "Eggplant Caviar".
- Jonjoli (ჯონჯოლი): Pickled flowers of bladdernut.
- Khachapuri (ხაჭაპური): Cheese-bread with regional variation. This dish is very popular outside Georgia, especially in the ex-USSR.
- Kuchmachi (კუჭმაჭი): Dish made of chicken livers.
- Kupati (კუპატი): Fried sausage from Western Georgia.
- Kubdari (კუბდარი): Meat-bread made from bread, meat (lamb, kid or pork), spices, and onions.
- Lobiani (ლობიანი): Bean-stuffed Khachapuri.
- Lobio (ლობიო): Mashed beans with spices.
- Matsoni (მაწონი): Dairy product, similar to yogurt or sour cream.
- Muzhuzhi (მუჟუჟი): Pork jelly.
- Nadughi (ნადუღი): Cream-like dairy product.
- Nigvziani badrijani (ნიგზვიანი ბადრიჯანი): Fried eggplant and walnut sauce.
- Pkhali (ფხალი): Minced and chopped vegetables, mostly made of spinach, beets, and cabbage.
- Satsivi (საცივი): Walnut sauce.
Traditional Georgian breads are varied, and include Tonis Puri, Shotis Puri, Mesxuri Puri,Nazuki and Mchadi.
Georgian breads are traditionally baked in a large, round, well-shaped oven called a tone.
- Khachapuri, also spelled as Hachapuri (Georgian: ხაჭაპური [xɑtʃʼɑpʼuri] (listen) from ხაჭო xach'o "curds" + პური p'uri "bread") is a traditional Georgian dish of cheese-filled bread. The bread is leavened and allowed to rise and is shaped in various ways, usually with cheese in the middle and a crust which is ripped off and used to dip in the cheese. The filling contains cheese (fresh or aged, most commonly sulguni), eggs and other ingredients.
There are several distinctive types of khachapuri in Georgian food from different regions of Georgia:
- Imeretian (Imeruli) khachapuri, which is circular and probably the most common type.
- Adjarian (Acharuli/Adjaruli) khachapuri, in which the dough is formed into an open boat shape and the hot pie is topped with a raw egg and a pat of butter before serving.
- Mingrelian (Megruli) khachapuri, similar to Imeritian but with more cheese added on top.
- Achma, from Abkhazia, which has multiple layers and looks more like a sauceless lasagna.
- Gurian (Guruli) khachapuri has boiled eggs inside the dough and looks like a calzone. Arguably, it is not a type of khachapuri. Gurians make them for Christmas and call them simply 'Christmas pie'. In the rest of Georgia, it is called 'Gurian pie'.
- Ossetian (Osuri) khachapuri, which has potato, as well as cheese in its filling. It is commonly called Khabizgini.
- Svanuri Lemzira
- Rachuli khachapuri
- Penovani khachapuri is made with puff pastry dough, resulting in a flaky variety of the pie.
- Adjaruli Chechili (აჭარული ჩეჩილი): Cheese made in Adjara from cow milk, which is shaped into ropes.
- Chogi (ჩოგი): Cheese made from sheep milk in Tusheti.
- Chkinti' (ჭყინტი): Salty and juicy cheese made originally in Imereti.
- Dambalkhacho (დამბალხაჭო): Moldy cheese made in Pshavi and Mtiuleti. It is considered as one of the most ancient and expensive cheeses.
- Dampali Kveli (დამპალი ყველი): Rare cheese with a butter filling inside.
- Kartuli (ქართული): Cheese made from a mixture of around 50% cow milk and a mixture of sheep, goat or buffalo milk.
- Guda (გუდა): Cheese made from sheep milk in Tusheti. Its preparation lasts 20 days.
- Imeruli (იმერული): Cheese made in the region of Imereti from cow milk.
- Kalti (კალტი): Cheese made in mountainous regions of Georgia. It is often considered a Shepherds' cheese because of its nutritional values.
- Kobi (კობი): Mixed cow/sheep milk cheese, mostly eaten in Eastern Georgia.
- Meskhuri Chechili (მესხური ჩეჩილი): Cheese made in Meskheti and same as the Adjarian one.
- Sulguni (სულგუნი): One of the most famous cheeses in Georgia, which comes from Mingrelia. It is made from cow or buffalo milk. Outside Mingrelia, it is also made in Svaneti.
- Tenili (ტენილი): Cheese made in Samtskhe-Javakheti. It is shaped in curds.
- Kitri Pomidvris Salata (კიტრი პომიდვრის სალათა): Cucumber and tomato salad with Georgian herbs, greens and Kakhetian oil (კახური ზეთი). It is sometimes eaten with a walnut sauce.
- Ispanakhis Salata (ისპანახის სალათა): Spinach salad.
- Pkhali (ფხალი): Minced vegetables in a ball shape. It is mainly made from spinach, cabbage or beans and is topped with pomegranate seeds.
- Sagazapkhulo Salata (საგაზაფხულო სალათა): Salad made during Spring. There is not a strict recipe but it is mostly made of fresh ingredients and boiled eggs.
- Satatsuris Salata (სატაცურის სალათა): Salad made of asparagus.
- Tcharkhlis Salata (ჭარხლის სალათა): Salad made of beets.
Soups and stews
- Bozbashi (ბოზბაში): Soup made of mutton and peas and chestnuts, mostly consumed in Kakheti.
- Chakapuli (ჩაქაფული): Stew made of lamb or beef (or veal), tarragon and cherry plums in Eastern Georgia (Kakheti and Kartli).
- Chakhokhbili (ჩახოხბილი): Soup made of tomatoes and poultry meat (mostly chicken or turkey) which originated in Western Georgia.
- Chikhirtma (ჩიხირთმა): Soup made of turkey or chicken meat and eggs which is traditionally made in Kakheti.
- Kharcho (ხარჩო): Soup made of beef, rice, cherry plums and walnuts from Mingrelia.
- Kharshil (ხარშილ): Soup made of spinach in Svaneti.
- Khashi (ხაში): Boiled cow or sheep parts in their juice. Mostly made in the Eastern regions, especially Kakheti.
- Lobio (ლობიო): Stew made mostly from kidney beans. Popular in Western Georgia.
- Matsvnis Supi (მაწვნის სუპი): Soup made mainly of Matsoni.
- Puris Kharcho (პურის ხარჩო): Soup made of bread. It originated in Kartli.
- Shechamandi (შეჭამანდი): Different sorts of soup made by a principle ingredients, mostly made in Kartli. These soups can be made of spinach, malva, garlic, dogwood, grains, sorrel, pink peavine and other ingredients.
Though Georgian cuisine is not very fish-oriented, there are still some dishes mainly made of trout, catfish and carp:
- Kalmakhi Tarkhunit (კალმახი ტარხუნით): Fried trout with tarragon.
- Kapchoni Mchkudi (ქაფჩონი მჭკუდი): Cornbread made with anchovy, which is made in Adjara by the Lazs.
- Kepali (კეფალი): Fried flathead mullet.
- Kibo Kindzit (კიბო ქინძით): Lobster cooked with coriander.
- Kibo Mokharshuli (მოხარშული კიბო): Boiled lobster.
- Kibo Tetri Ghvinit (კიბო თეთრი ღვინით): Lobster cooked in white wine.
- Kobri Nigvzit da Brotseulit (კობრი ნიგვზით და ბროწეულით): Fried carp with walnuts and pomegranates seeds.
- Loko Kindzmarshi (ლოქო ქინძმარში): Boiled catfish with coriander and vinegar.
- Loko Tsiteli Ghvinit (ლოქო წითელი ღვინით): Boiled catfish in red wine.
- Tsotskhali (ცოცხალი): Boiled or fried local fish.
- Tsvera Nigvzit da Brotseulit (წვერა ნიგვზით და ბროწეულით): Fried common barbel with walnuts and pomegranates seeds.
- Zutkhi Kaklis Potolshi (ზუთხი კაკლის ფოთოლში): sturgeon cooked in a walnut leaf.
The most popular Georgian meat dishes include:
- Abkhazura (აფხაზურა): Fried meat rolled in caul fat from Abkhazia.
- Apokhti (აპოხტი): Dried / Smoked meat (beef, lamb, goose, duck).
- Batis Shechamandi (ბატის შეჭამანდი): Meskhetian soup made of goose meat.
- Bozbashi: Soup of lamb meat with peas, chestnuts and tomatoes.
- Chanakhi (ჩანახი): Soup made of tomatoes and lamb.
- Chakhokhbili (ჩახოხბილი): Soup made of tomatoes and poultry meat (chicken or turkey).
- Chakapuli (ჩაქაფული): Stew made of cherry plums, tarragon and meat (lamb, beef or veal) from Kakheti.
- Chikhirtma (ჩიხირთმა): Soup made of chicken and eggs from Kakheti.
- Gupta: Georgian version of Kefta meatballs.
- Kharcho (ხარჩო): Soup made of beef, tomatoes, herbs and walnuts.
- Khashi (ხაში): Boiled parts of cow or sheep in its juice.
- Khashlama (ხაშლამა): Boiled meat.
- Khinkali (ხინკალი): Dumplings filled with beef, pork or lamb meat (in Meskheti filled with goose) herbs from Eastern Georgia.
- Kubdari (კუბდარი): Khachapuri filled with meat from Svaneti.
- Kuchmachi (კუჭმაჭი): Fried chicken livers with walnuts and pomegranate seeds.
- Kupati (კუპატი) : Fried sausage made of pork.
- Lori (ლორი): Smoked pork from Racha.
- Kababi (ქაბაბი): Meat cooked on fire, with pomegranate seeds.
- Mtsvadi (მწვადი): Meat cooked on fire.
- Muzhuzhi (მუჟუჟი): A kind of jelly filled with meat and vegetables (specifically carrots and other herbs).
- Qaghi (ყაღი): Smoked meat.
- Qaurma (ყაურმა): A kind of soup with chopped meat.
- Satsivi (საცივი): Poultry meat in a walnut sauce called bazhe which originated in Western Georgia.
- Shilaplavi (შილაფლავი): Pilaf made of lamb, spices, and vegetables.
- Shkmeruli (შქმერული): Chicken in a cream-based sauce.
- Tabaka (ტაბაკა): Roasted chicken with Adjika.
- Tolma (ტოლმა): Georgian version of Dolma. The filling is mostly meat and rolled in cabbage or grape leaf.
Sauces and spices
Sauces and spices common in Georgian cuisine include:
- Ajapsandali (აჯაფსანდალი): Dish made of vegetables such as eggplants, potatoes, tomatoes, onions and herbs.
- Badrijnis Borani (ბადრიჯნის ბორანი): Chopped and fried eggplants with spices.
- Badrijnis Khizilala (ბადრიჯნის ხიზილალა - "Eggplant caviar"): Chopped eggplants with pomegranate seeds and herbs.
- Badrijani Mtsvanilit (ბადრიჯანი მწვანილით): Fried eggplants with fresh herbs (coriander, parsley and basil).
- Ekala Nigvzit (ეკალა ნიგზვით): Smilax with walnuts.
- Gogris Gupta (გოგრის გუფთა): Squash in a ball shape (vegetarian kefta).
- Lobiani (ლობიანი): Khachapuri filled with kidney beans.
- Lobio (ლობიო): Mashed kidney beans with spices.
- Lobio Nigvzit (ლობიო ნიგვზით): Kidney beans with walnuts.
- Pkhali (ფხალი): Minced vegetables with pomegranates.
- Shechamandi (შეჭამანდი): Different sorts of soup made by a principle ingredient, mostly made in Kartli. These soups can be made of spinach, malva, garlic, dogwood, grains, sorrel, pink peavine, and others.
- Chiri (ჩირი): Dried fruits mostly apricots, grapes, plums and figs.
- Churchkhela (ჩურჩხელა): Candy made of grape juice mixed with flour and walnuts. It originated in Kakheti.
- Janjukha (ჯანჯუხა): Same as Churchkhela but instead of walnuts, chopped hazelnuts are used. It is made in Guria.
- Gozinaki (გოზინაყი): Candy made mostly for New Year. It is made from chopped walnuts and honey.
- Muraba (მურაბა): Sort of jam made mostly from fruits such as walnut, watermelon, quince, fig, berries and from flowers (especially wild rose).
- Nazuki (ნაზუქი): Sweet bread with cinnamon, lemon curds and raisins. It is made mostly in Shida Kartli, especially in Surami.
- Pelamushi (ფელამუში): Dessert made of grape juice and flour, similar to a sweet porridge.
- Pakhlava (ფახლავა): Adjarian version of the Turkish dessert Baklava.
- Shaqarlama (შაქარლამა): Biscuits made from sugar and honey. It is made in Adjara.
- Taplis Kveri (თაფლის კვერი): Candy made from honey.
- Tklapi (ტყლაპი): Roll-ups made from fruits such as grapes, apricots, cherry plums, and figs.
Georgia is one of the oldest wine-producing regions in the world. The fertile valleys and protective slopes of the Transcaucasia were home to grapevine cultivation and neolithic wine production (Georgian: ღვინო, ɣvino) for at least 8000 years. Due to the many millennia of wine in Georgian history and its prominent economic role, the traditions of wine are considered entwined with and inseparable from the national identity.
Among the best-known Georgian wine regions are Kakheti (further divided into the micro-regions of Telavi and Kvareli), Kartli, Imereti, Racha-Lechkhumi and Kvemo Svaneti, Adjara and Abkhazia.
UNESCO added the ancient traditional Georgian winemaking method using the Kvevri clay jars to the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists.
Alcoholic drinks from Georgia include chacha and wine (especially Georgian wine). Some of the most well-known Georgian wines include Pirosmani, Alazani, Akhasheni, Saperavi, and Kindzmarauli. Wine culture in Georgia dates back thousands of years, and many Georgian wines are made from traditional Georgian grape varieties that are little known in the West, such as Saperavi and Rkatsiteli. Georgian wine is well known throughout Eastern Europe, and is a significant national export, with exports of over 10 million bottles of wine per year. Georgia is also home to many beer brands, including Natakhtari, Kazbegi, Argo, Kasri, and Karva.
Lagidze water is a Georgian flavored soda drink, made with a variety of natural syrups, sold bottled or mixed directly in a glass from a soda fountain. Common types of mineral water from Georgia include Borjomi, Nabeghlavi, Likani, and Sairme.