Georgian cuisine is widely regarded as one of the world’s most underappreciated. This guide on Georgian foods is based on travels across the country, trips to local markets, dinners in family homes and eateries, and even an unplanned cooking class. It provides a comprehensive list of traditional Georgian foods as well as recommendations for what to eat and drink when visiting the Republic of Georgia.
Georgian food is an apt representation of the country’s culture. Warm, gooey comfort foods such as khachapuri (cheese-stuffed bread) are paired with matsoni (yogurt).
For rich fillings and sauces, herbs like flat parsley, dill, tarragon, and coriander are blended with walnuts and garlic.
Top Georgian Foods
Since the majority of the people in the country are Orthodox Christians, they usually lent, offering some inventive and delectable vegan- and vegetarian-friendly recipes. Below are the top 20 Georgian foods.
There’s a reason why this delectable cheese-filled dish is so famous around the world.
Khachapuri, Georgia’s national cuisine, is listed on the country’s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage. This cheese-filled pastry has various varieties, each distinctive to a separate area of Georgia.
The seashore location of Adjara produces one of the most popular variations of Khachapuri. Adjarian Khachapuri is a boat-shaped pastry filled with tasty Georgian egg yolks, cheese, and butter.
Adjarian Khachapuri’s history and symbolism are inextricably linked to its original location.
Khinkali is a dumpling that originated in Georgia’s hilly areas. It’s traditionally cooked with just a few ingredients: onions, chile pepper, minced lamb, and salt.
However, there are other dumpling varieties, including various spices and herbs. Khinkali with potato, cheese, or mushroom fillings is also possible.
Khinkali is typically served with black pepper on top. If you ever have the pleasure of dining with Georgians, they will constantly make it a point to teach you the ‘right method’ to eat Khinkali, which is by hand.
Since traditional meat dumplings are juicy, a single bite can be used to draw out the juice before eating the rest of the dumpling. The dumpling tops are typically left on the dish to count the amount of Khinkali you have eaten.
Ghomi is a dish from Georgia’s western region, Samegrelo. It is a porridge made traditionally using foxtail millet or cornmeal.
Ghomi is traditionally prepared in huge batches and continually swirled with a large wooden stick like a tennis racket. It was the staple side dish for several households in Western Georgia for decades.
The most iconic combination for Ghomi is the Georgian cheese Sulguni, which is often served with various meats and stews. Sulguni, which resembles Mozzarella, is a superb melting cheese that goes well with hot porridge to make a hearty and delectable dinner.
Borano is a traditional Adjara cheese dish. It is high in calories and not meant for the faint of heart. It’s created of Georgian braided cheese and Kaimaghi (commonly referred to as Kaymak) cultured butter.
Kaymak, which resembles clotted cream, is popular in the Balkans, Central Asia, and Turkic countries. Adjara borders Turkey, and the influence of Turkish food is palpable.
Borano is produced by melting Kaymak cultured butter and frying cheese in it. It is typically served hot with fresh bread or as a side dish to main courses or salads.
The Samegrelo region is also responsible for this hearty beef soup. Kharcho, known for its distinctive blend of ingredients and unusual flavor, can brighten even the darkest of days.
Kharcho can also be cooked with various types of meat, such as lamb, chicken, or geese. The mix of cherry plums, walnuts, and a specific spice blend gives this classic dish its particular flavor.
Kharcho’s consistency can be altered to suit individual preferences. The quantity of pureed cherry plum and walnuts used influences the final texture of the dish.
If the Kharcho is too thick, it can be poured over Ghomi and eaten that way, or it can be eaten as soup on its own.
Satsivi is a tasty Georgian dish prepared with chicken, or turkey smothered in a rich walnut sauce. This sauce is made from ground walnuts, garlic, vinegar, and spices.
Served cold, satsivi is a staple during celebratory occasions and is often accompanied by Georgian bread.
7. Badrijani Nigvzit
Badrijani Nigvzit is a vegetarian delight made from eggplant slices that are fried and then filled with a seasoned walnut paste.
The walnut paste is typically flavored with garlic, pomegranate seeds, and various spices. This dish is a perfect blend of flavor and texture.
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Kubdari is a meat-filled bread from the highland region of Svaneti. It’s a basic recipe, but with the perfect method and a few crucial components, it develops that distinct flavor that so many people adore.
Kubdari is traditionally cooked with beef or pork, onions, and a variety of Georgian spices. To produce the Kubdari filling, the beef is cut into tiny squares and kneaded with spices and onions, infusing the flesh with the taste thoroughly.
Gitsruli, a wild herb found in the Svaneti mountains, is a vital element. The spice is difficult to locate in Georgian grocery stores.
As a result, folks in Georgia who want to make true Kubdari go out of their way to reach out to their Svan acquaintances for the spice.
Shkmeruli is a baked chicken dish from Georgia’s Racha area that has recently achieved unexpected appeal in Japan.
Shkmeruli is made by first frying a whole chicken. The chicken is covered with spices, garlic, and milk (or sour cream) before baking. It yields juicy chicken with fragrant infusions and a wonderful creamy sauce perfect for dipping bread in.
Shkmeruli is popular among Georgians and can be found in practically every restaurant in the nation, but it has also captured the hearts of a lot of Japanese foodies.
Matsuya, a Japanese restaurant brand, began serving the dish at limited locations in 2020. Following its success, the chain began serving this Georgian dish at all of its locations.
Mtsvadi, also known as Georgian barbecue, is a meat lover’s dream. Chunks of marinated pork or beef are skewered and grilled to perfection.
The marinade often includes onions, vinegar, and aromatic herbs, giving the meat a mouthwatering flavor. Mtsvadi is commonly enjoyed with fresh vegetables and Georgian bread.
Lobio is a hearty bean stew that comes in various forms. It’s often made with red kidney beans and flavored with onions, garlic, herbs, and spices.
Lobio can be served hot or cold and is a staple in Georgian households.
Jonjoli is a distinctive Georgian dish. Jonjoli is the name of a Caucasian bladdernut shrub native to the country’s west.
Pickled bladdernut sprouts are commonly served as an appetizer alongside other pickled vegetables such as garlic, onions, or tomatoes. Jonjoli goes especially well with traditional Lobio meals.
This delicious meal is also from the Svaneti mountains. This traditional dish is made with mashed up potatoes and fresh cheese, either Georgian Sulguni cheese or a blend of both.
Sulguni is a melting cheese that is similar to Mozzarella. Sulguni, a typical element in Khachapuri, is essential in preparing a delectable Tashmijabi.
Tashmijabi is made by mashing boiling potatoes while they are still hot. Cheese, butter, and many Svan spices are thoroughly combined until the cheese is completely melted. The end product is a fantastic meal with an incredible cheese draw.
Chakapuli is a tangy stew made with lamb or beef, green plums, tarragon, and various herbs.
This dish is traditionally enjoyed during the springtime and is known for its refreshing and aromatic flavors.
Churchkhela is a traditional Georgian sweet that’s often referred to as “Georgian Snickers.”
It’s made by dipping strings of nuts (usually walnuts or hazelnuts) into a thickened grape juice mixture, resulting in a chewy and energy-packed treat.
Pkhali is a type of appetizer or side dish made from finely chopped vegetables, such as spinach, beets, or cabbage, mixed with ground walnuts, garlic, and spices.
The mixture is then typically shaped into small patties or rolls and served cold.
Gebjalia is a cheese lover’s paradise. It’s basically cheese that’s been packed with additional cheese and served in a cheese sauce. This delicacy, also from Samegrelo, is created with Sulguni melting cheese.
The cheese is formed into a rectangle after being melted in milk until stretchable. A mint and garlic curd cheese mixture is put over the cheese before it is firmly coiled and cut.
The sauce is produced from the melted cheese’s milk, sour cream, and additional curd cheese. This substantial stew is served cold with traditional Georgian bread as an appetizer.
This list appears to be heavy on savory dishes; now let’s shift gears and try some of Georgia’s sweet desserts. There aren’t many Georgian sweets, but the ones that do exist are wonderful and one-of-a-kind.
Gozinaki is a classic walnut and honey dessert. To prepare Gozinaki, honey, and sugar are cooked together, then toasted walnuts are added and the resulting mixture is spread in a thin rectangle.
The dessert is cut into diamond shapes before it completely cools. Gozinaki is an inseparable component of Georgian winter festivities, being served on both New Year’s Eve and Christmas.
18. Georgian bread (puri)
Classic Georgian bread, or puri, is baked in a tone oven. Tone is a cylindrical clay oven that is heated by an open fire and an ember.
Puri is leavened with yeast and baked on the tone oven walls. This method of baking bread is popular in Georgia during festivals and holiday feasts. Mchadi, a cornmeal often served with Lobio meals, is another popular bread in Georgia.
Nazuki is a sweet variation of bread. Nazuki dough, which is also baked in tone, is enhanced with milk, eggs, and sugar. Sweet flavors like cinnamon, vanilla, and cloves are mixed into the dough.
It is a popular pastry, particularly in central Georgia, and is frequently offered as a road snack along roads.
Kuchmachi is a traditional snack cooked from the livers, hearts, and gizzards of chicken or pig.
The beef is diced, cooked, and fried with walnuts, garlic, onion, and spices to make this dish. Fresh coriander is added towards the end of the cooking process.
Kuchmachi is usually garnished with pomegranate seeds and served as an appetizer alongside Georgian cornmeal Mchadi.
20. Ajika and Tkemali
Ajika and Tkemali are two Georgian dishes that should not be missed. Ajika is a fiery dip made with garlic, red peppers, and a variety of traditional herbs and spices.
Ajika on bread or cornmeal can be eaten as an appetizer or used to season a variety of traditional recipes.
Tkemali is a classic Georgian sauce. It’s produced from cherry plum or alucha from the Caucasus. The flavor of the sauce is often rather tart, which can be altered by adding sugar to the sauce.
Tkemali is served with a variety of dishes ranging from basic fried potatoes to grilled meat. This sauce is an absolute requirement at every Georgian feast.
Georgian foods are a testament to the country’s rich history and cultural diversity. Each dish tells a unique story and offers a blend of flavors that are sure to captivate your taste buds.
From the iconic khachapuri to the hearty khinkali and flavorful satsivi, Georgian foods are a delightful exploration of taste and tradition.