As most of my regular readers and social media followers are aware, I’ve developed a strong attachment to the Republic of Georgia. The nation is incredible- there is so much to see and do, the scenery is breathtaking, and the people are really nice and inviting. Yet, as you would expect, most of my affection stems from the delectable Georgian cuisine.
The nation is becoming known for four things in particular: nature, hospitality, wine, and gastronomy. All of these things appeal to me, so it’s no surprise that I’m already making plans to return next summer.
This guide will teach you all you need to know about Georgian food. We’ll discuss some of the greatest Georgian cuisine, traditional Georgian spices, and much more. By the end, you’ll be craving the dishes and attempting to schedule your travel!
In addition, I found several of these classic Georgian delicacies while traveling the country with JayWay Travel. Many readers may recall my visit to Poland with them last year. JayWay specializes on travel to Central and Eastern Europe. When planning your own trip to the area, be sure to visit their website!
Searching for a place to enjoy real Georgian cuisine? Check out my guide to the top restaurants in Tbilisi for a list of places where you can get all of these delicacies!
- 1 What distinguishes Georgian cuisine?
- 2 29 Authentic Georgian Foods You Must Try
- 2.1 Georgian Beverages
- 2.2 Georgian Seasonings and Sauces
- 2.3 Appetizers
- 2.4 Georgian loaves
- 2.5 Entrees
- 2.6 Dessert
- 3 Which of these classic Georgian cuisine piques your interest the most? Please share your thoughts in the comments box below!
What distinguishes Georgian cuisine?
Georgian cuisine incorporates the finest of many different civilizations. They are mostly based on Mediterranean and Greek taste characteristics, with some Iranian and Turkish influences. Georgian cuisine, like as the cheese-stuffed bread khachapuri, exemplifies their culture’s warmth and comfort.
To prepare decadent sauces, they combine savory herbs that conjure Thanksgiving memories, such as tarragon, parsley, dill, and coriander, with Persian tastes like as garlic walnuts. Georgian food is a unique blend of the finest of what their neighbors have to offer, with their own distinct twist!
29 Authentic Georgian Foods You Must Try
Georgia is one of the world’s oldest wine areas, despite the fact that it is not what most people think of when they think of wine-growing regions. Locals will tell you that wine originated in Georgia, which is contested by neighboring nations. Winemaking has been documented in Georgia from 8000 B.C., so whether they developed it or not, they had plenty of time to refine the method.
Georgian vineyards yield around 500 types of indigenous grapes, including several endangered vines found nowhere else on the planet.
They also produce some of their wines in an unusual manner. The Georgian traditional process entails burying subterranean clay pots known as kvevris (qvevris) that are used for wine fermentation, maturation, and storage. The clay kvevris may impart an orange or golden tint to the wines. To be honest, this style of production did not provide my favorite Georgian wine.
My favorite Georgian wines were made in a more traditional manner, or in what locals refer to as European style. Tsinandali for white wine and Saperavi for red were my favorites.
They produce Lelo, a port wine with a fruity fragrance and a golden tint. They also produce akhasheni, a semi-sweet red wine produced from Saperavi grapes. Khvanchkara is a semi-sweet red that is grown in western Georgia. It is one of Georgia’s most popular wine kinds. They are also well-known for producing a variety of dessert wines.
With roughly 40 different grape varieties utilized in winemaking, it’s no surprise that they make over 45 different types of wine, each with a distinct taste!
Chacha is a kind of Georgian grappa. This Georgian pomace brandy is transparent and quite potent. It normally contains 40% to 65% alcohol by volume and is often referred to as vine vodka. It is the country’s national alcoholic beverage.
Georgian Seasonings and Sauces
The ingredient combination used to season and sauce all of Georgian cuisine is one of the elements that gives it its distinct taste. These are a few examples.
Svaneti sea salt
Typically, this salt is used to season vegetables, salads, and cheese. It contains salt, chile pepper, dried garlic, and a special spice mixture. Herbs like coriander and fenugreek might be used in this combination. This salt is very reminiscent of Persian and Indian cuisine.
Adjika is a kind of Georgian chili paste. For extra heat, this is frequently served with cucumber and tomato salads. Despite the heat and spices, the taste profile is quite modest, blending nicely with the colder flavors of Georgian cuisine for a balanced and nuanced flavor. Fenugreek and coriander are often included in the paste, while a green variant employs unripe peppers.
When consumed sparingly with cheese, khachapuri, or meat, this sour plum sauce acts as a palette cleanser. Tkemali plums are often utilized, although Aluchas are sometimes included to the mix. This sauce is made with red and green peppers and has a strong bitterness to it.
Paste of Walnuts
Another result of their Iranian influences, walnut paste (or nigvzis sakmazi), is a real Georgian culinary classic. This delicious paste comprises walnuts, water, garlic, fresh mint, cilantro, salt, dill, jalapeño, coriander, and blue fenugreek.
When wrapped and kept in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, the paste may be used for salad dressing, okhali, and other foods. It’s the Georgian counterpart of pesto’s flexibility.
Every great dinner begins with some fantastic appetizers, and Georgian cuisine does not disappoint! These are a few of the greatest you can discover.
Gobi derives from the same Georgian word as friend, implying that gobi is supposed to be enjoyed with a group of your friends.
Gobi is a colorful array of Georgian appetizers served in a huge wooden bowl that you share before your meal. The gobi in the picture below was so huge that three of us couldn’t eat it, much alone order mains, the day we ordered it!
Lobio is a Georgian meal that may be served as an appetizer or as a main course. This substantial bean stew is often served with a mchadi, or cornmeal bun. The interesting thing about this stew is that the tastes may vary widely, and each Georgian prepares it somewhat differently.
The most frequent method to serve this is as lobio nigozit, a cold meal with a red kidney bean basis. Garlic, onions, walnuts, coriander, marigold, chili pepper, and vinegar are blended into these beans. White beans are often used in hot variations.
The sulguni cheese is Georgia’s national cheese. This salty cheese has a stringy crust and a very juicy center. It has an almost elastic feel. It is often served on cheese boards and charcuterie, but it may also be served with tonis puri bread, herbs, and tomatoes.
Sulguni is called a fast cheese since it matures in only a day or two.
This cuisine is unique to Georgia and can only be found there. It is a typical Georgian staple and is quite tasty. Pickled jonjoli blossoms are made with onion and coriander with oil and vinegar. This meal complements fried dishes and is claimed to be a traditional Georgian hangover remedy.
If you find yourself wanting fondue while in Georgia, swing visit Restaurant Megrelebi in Tbilisi. They don’t speak English, but their cuisine is unquestionably genuine. This meal appears like raw bread, but is really pounded polenta combined with cheese loads of cheese!!! Add Abkhazian smoked ham to create an entree.
Mushroom Stuffed Shells
Try the stuffed mushrooms for a little healthier Georgian starter. They are packed with Sulguni cheese from the region and cooked on a ketsi pan. The cheese and butter meal is quick and tasty!
Georgian Salad with Walnut Dressing
Georgian cuisine also includes some fantastic vegetarian alternatives. Their Tomato and Cucumber Salad with Walnut Sauce is a terrific starting salad or complete entree. This dish includes red wine vinegar, cherry tomatoes, onions, olive oil, cucumbers, and walnuts, as well as the Georgian staple walnut paste, which may be thinned up to make a dressing.
There are several variations of Georgian bread, and it is one of the most preferred accompaniments to any meal.
This incredible Georgian cheese bread is something you must taste. It’s warm and gooey, and it’s bursting with flavor. This is Georgia’s national dish, and it is part of the country’s intangible cultural heritage, as recognized by UNESCO.
This meal is basically a circular pie with dripping cheese in the middle. There are multiple kinds, with variations including various types of cheeses, meats, and eggs.
Kubdari is a kind of bread that originated in Svaneti. The dough is the same as in khachapuri, but it is loaded with tiny bits of meat and combined with onions and Georgian spices, including cannabis leaves. This is comparable to a calzone in the United States. The nicest variation of this may be seen on the way from Ushguli to Mestia.
Lobiani, a bread similar to khachapuri but packed with bean paste instead of cheese, is another traditional Georgian dish. This moist bread is lighter and healthier than the cheese-stuffed kind. Rachuli Lobiani, which is beans with bacon, is a favorite variant among carnivores.
Chvishtari and Mchadi
Mchadi is a kind of Georgian cornbread. It is exceptionally juicy and soft and is frequently served with stew and cheeses. Chvishtari is something I wish was more common around here. It’s called cheese cornbread. It begins with mchadi and progresses to Svanti cheese for a sticky and delightful hearty meal. This is alpine cuisine that holds up nicely on nature hikes.
Also known as shotis puri, the Shoti bread is a delightful traditional Georgian meal that can be acquired at any local grocery. Its created from flour and fashioned like a boat. It is eaten with virtually every meal, particularly in Tbilisi, where bakers prepare it on nearly every street.
After you’ve finished watching the teaser, it’s time for the big event. These Georgian delicacies are perfect in every way. Savory treat that is hearty, delicious, and wonderfully balanced.
Mtsvadi (Georgian Shashlik) (Georgian Shashlik)
Grilling these Georgian meat skewers on flaming grapevines is one of their secrets. When the vines are lit, they burn fast and leave a mound of coals that provide a consistent and aromatic heat with a distinct taste that may seal in the fluids from the meat so they do not escape during cooking.
These skewers are seasoned with the finest Georgian spices and skewered by hand before being roasted extremely close to the fire and carefully maintained to prevent burning. They are often accompanied with Kakhetian bread and Georgian white wine. But keep in mind that if you receive the back meat, it is supposed to be shared with the whole party!
This is a typical Georgian lamb stew from the region of Kakheti. It is traditionally reserved for rare events and comprises lamb or veal seasoned with onions, tkemali (sour Georgian cherry plums), garlic, herbs, and white wine. Tarragon, mint, dill, and coriander are common additional ingredients.
This Georgian vegetarian dish is composed with cabbage, eggplant, spinach, beans, beets, and other minced vegetables. To produce a great supper, it is blended with walnuts, vinegar, onions, garlic, and herbs and kept together with pureed walnut sauce. Spinach, beetroot, and white bean pkhali are the most popular variations.
This is a khachapuri variation that is served as an entree. Non-locals often refer to it as Georgian Cheese Lasagna. This is a cheese loaf with layers upon layers that looks like cheese lasagna when cut. The flaky crunchy crust is the nicest part!
Shkemeruli with chicken
Shkemeruli is a tasty and juicy fried chicken served with a spicy garlic sauce. This delectable fried garlic chicken dish is usually cooked on a clay pan known as a ketsi, which locks in spices and delicately crisps the chicken skin. It’s basic, but it’s a great illustration of how less is more!
This is a typical Georgian family dinner. Ojakhuri is basically beef and fried potatoes. This meal, which is commonly served during supra, or Georgian feasts, may be served in a number of ways. Georgians just season this meat and potato dish with their preferred veggies and spice combinations!
This meal is quite popular in Georgian restaurants and in Georgian homes. Ostri is a hot and spicy beef stew cooked with beef, butter, onions, tomatoes, hot pepper, coriander, cucumber, garlic, purple basil, bay leaves, and salt. It is cooked slowly for many hours.
These lovely Georgian dumplings are twisted dough knobs filled with meat and spices then cooked or steamed. You black pepper them, grasp them by the handle, turn them upside down, and take little bits from the sides, sipping some broth each time. Any other technique will result in a massive mess and a bath in boiling soup! Vegetarian choices include mushrooms and cheese.
The components of this meal will be clear to anybody who speaks Georgian. In Georgian, it means stewed. This is a substantial meal that will keep you warm on chilly mountain days, and it is generally served with a heaping helping of Georgian shoti bread. The delicious taste of this beef stew is a new take on traditional American beef stews.
What dinner would be complete if it did not include dessert? These are some Georgian foods that complement Georgian national cuisine while also satisfying your sweet craving!
Georgian Snickers are the name given to these dark rubbery treats. These are handcrafted treats fashioned from walnut strings soaked in tatara (thickened grape juice) and dried. Nuts (often almonds, walnuts, and hazelnuts), raisins, and chocolate are strung onto the string before being dipped and dried. Just remember not to chew the thread!