Flavors of the Caucasus: A taste of Georgian cuisine

Spanning the Silk Road between Europe and Asia, there’s a solid argument to consider Georgian food the world’s original fusion cuisine. Across the centuries, traders and armies transited both east and west through this compact area bordered by the Black Sea and the culinary influence of historical empires including the Mongols, Ottomans and Persians lingers in Georgian kitchens.

Source: https://www.lonelyplanet.com/georgia 

7 fascinating things about Georgian cuisine:

  1. Khatchapuri was repeatedly listed by Business Insider as one of the most memorable meal one can eat during the lifetime.

  2. Georgian “Supra” – Which means feast, has been given the intangible cultural heritage status by country authorities.

  3. More than 50 Georgian restaurants operate apart from the original Georgian land. Six of them are spread across US, others are set in European cities.

  4. 10 out of 10 Foreign visitors name Georgian cuisine among the most important attractions of the country

  5. The Washington Post typed a long article praising Khatchapuri as it boomed at internationally sourced evening menu at Compass Rose near 14th Street NW last year. 

  6. The New York Times reporter Alice Feiring wrote a charming story, picturing Tbilisi’s modern dining scene and calling it a “pure magic”.

  7. Independent has interviewed Claude Bosi of Hibiscus, the Michelin-starred restaurateur, who said that “Supra” was something that everyone should experience.

Supra – Feast offered to the luckiest of visitors only

A Supra is a traditional and extravagant Georgian meal and a backbone of the local social culture. The traditional leader of the Supra is the Tamada – a toastmaster, who leads the feast. This person is as vital to the supra as Supras revolve entirely around toasts. If it’s a proper Supra, the attendees will leave tipsy and full, in both body and spirit. And if it’s a big occasion, they had better be ready for another one the next day.

The new Georgian culinary wave

Tbilisi’s dining scene is anchored in tradition, but recently-opened restaurants are offering innovative spins on local flavors. Standout dishes in some places include seafood Chakapuli – with wild Black Sea mussels replacing the traditional protein of lamb or veal – and a silky roast eggplant hummus studded with pomegranate and olives.

No wine – no party

In Georgia, no Supra runs without wine. There’s evidence to show that grapes were cultivated in the Shulaveri hills here 8000 years ago, giving the country a plausible claim to being the birthplace of wine. Georgian wine-makers say that their rightful place is among the great wine-producing nations. And in the ancient technology of the Qvevri, they feel they have a secret weapon. Virtually every Georgian makes their own wine. If they can’t grow their own vines, city-dwellers buy grapes from seasonal bazaars.

Must try Georgian dishes: Khinkali

Regarded as Georgia’s unofficial national dish, Khinkali are steamed dumplings filled with meat, cheese or vegetables. Appropriate decorum is to dust the Khinkali with black pepper, pick them up by hand, and carefully slurp the steaming broth inside before devouring the remainder of the silky goodness.

Eggplant with walnuts

If there’s a Georgian dish, foreigners crave regularly enough in attempt to recreate it at home, it’s Badrijani Nigvzit – widely referred to by its English name – Eggplant with walnut. This highly addictive finger food is made by plastering thin slices of chargrilled eggplant with a walnut paste that’s flavored with blue fenugreek, tarragon, vinegar and dried marigold. Unfamiliar flavors to most taste buds, the result is unlike anything one has tasted before.


Bread (“Puri”) is sacred stuff in the Caucasus – so much so that it’s taboo to throw bread away. Khachapuri, an open cheese pie, is one of Georgia’s more creative bread dishes. Different varieties correspond to different regions: Traditional khachapuri with salty cheese is a favorite in the country. There’s also Lobiani filled with beans and Khabizgina filled with potato. In a league of its own is the extremely indulgent Adjarian khachapuri: a boat-shaped pie served with a raw egg yolk and a stick of butter floating in its molten cheese top.

Rare Georgian vegan dish: Pkhali

At this stage one might be in need of a palate refresher – look no further than Pkhali, a vegan dish made from finely chopped beetroot, nettles, cabbage, spinach, and other leafy vegetables. Combined with crushed walnuts, garlic and fresh herbs for flavor, Pkhali is like a cross between a cold salad and a dip.

Mtsvadi is the King

Mtsvadi is Georgia’s catchall name for meat impaled on a stick and cooked over an open flame. Variations on this theme abound in the region, but in contrast with Turks and Armenians, Georgian cooks tend to be purists, eschewing elaborate marinades and rubs in favor of a liberal dose of salt.

All time exclusive

Cooked with onion and spices and served in a quaint clay pot, Lobio (stewed kidney beans) comes with all the trimmings – pickles, fresh spring onion and corn bread.

Georgia’s answer to chicken soup, Chikhirtma is a light, silky chicken bouillon that’s threaded with egg whites and finished with a zesty citrus kick.

Kharcho is typically made with beef, plum puree and ground walnuts, which gives the sauce a complex sweet-and-sour taste and a beautiful nutty texture.



Among Georgian desserts, Churchkhela is something everyone must try. The main ingredients of this spectacular sweet are nuts and grape juice.

Tklapi is a quite odd looking dessert, but if one likes a sweet-sour taste – Tklapi has it all. It is usually made out of sour plums, but other fruits can be used as well.

Pelamushi is a fine dessert with a very surprising flavor. Red grapes juice is the basic ingredient of this dessert, which is boiled with sugar and flour until it thickens.

Top experiences: Magical lab at Phoka nunnery

Five nuns and one novice inhabit a Nunnery at Phoka, hey’ve been here for some 20 years, and have gradually built up expertise in dairy-farming, graingrowing, cheese-making, beekeeping and candle-making. Their days are centered around five hours of prayer and it seems incredible that so many other things get done. Besides caring for acreage and animals, the nuns bake and sell bread, make choc- olates and cheese, and run a workshop where they create cloisonné enamel work.

Family Megrelian cooking

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that Georgian cuisine is the same throughout the country. Let us take you west, to Megrelia, for some of the finest, most complex and subtly-flavored food in Georgia. Like most of us who believe their mom’s cooking is the best in the world, every Megrelian housewife is no different! They get their love, passion and inspiration for cooking from their moms, grandmoms, grandgrandmoms and therefore they’re rightfully proud of their hot, spicy food that has been handed down through the generations since the time of the Kingdom of Colchis.

Up to take a culinary tour for your next big vacation?

Our 3 or 5 days culinary tours are ideal for those wishing to discover pure and authentic Georgia through meaningful connections with the locals and unique, hand-curated activities. We will guide you beyond the traditional highlights using the insider access and give you a glimpse into the pure Sakartvelo. The cooking classes, special hosts, incredible guides and charming accommodations, will allow you to enjoy the must-see sights of the country along with exclusivity you won’t find anywhere else.