Georgian cuisine is likely to be a great discovery for gourmets. Georgians tend to lay a table for any occasion. The reason could be celebrating a wide range of events from becoming a student to baptizing a child, or just an occasional visit of a neighbor.
Traditional Georgian party lasts quite long, so the list of various dishes offered is usually impressive. It includes a few snacks, some sauces, fresh greens, vegetables, fruit, etc. Add to it 4-5 hot dishes served later one after another.
It is believed that the secret of high life expectancy in Georgia lies in unique balance of various food and moderate use of wine. The basic ingredients for each dish are simple products, like meat, cheese, vegetables, greens, nuts, fruit, etc.
Vegetables are served in various forms; spinach, egg-plants, Bulgarian pepper, tomatoes. Assortment of various vegetable snacks with nuts is called commonly as pkhali.
Cheese is much loved in Georgia. According to Georgian proverb, for a successful party even only bread, cheese and welcoming heart are enough. Cheese can be served as a snack, or boiled with corn flour. There are many types of cheese. The most expensive is sulguni. The most popular dish from cheese is called khachapuri. Each region of Georgia makes different kind of khachapuri. It could be round, triangle, with an egg on top.
Here is the shortlist of most popular Georgian dishes from meat and poultry.
Shkmeruli - a chicken in garlic sauce, from the mountainous region of Racha.
Satsivi - a turkey or chicken in nut sauce, traditional dish for New Year.
Chashushuli from veal - tenderly boiled veal with tomatoes, onion and greens.
Chakapuli - spring dish from lamb with tarragon and bitter tkemali.
Khashlama - boiled beef with parsley.
Mtsvadi - Georgian barbeque made on spit, often served with various sauces.
Khinkali - Georgian dumpling from pork and beef, usually eaten with hands.
As a rule, in western Georgia dishes are spicier. The Mengrelians, Imeretians and Rachvelians from the west are noted as the best cooks, though some of the dishes are now internationally acclaimed. The number of Georgian restaurants is rapidly growing around the world, especially in Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, Greece, Kazakhstan, France and USA.
Not surprisingly, real gourmets should taste and fully enjoy Georgian cuisine only in Georgia to feel the unique atmosphere of its traditions, which have been cherished in Georgian families for centuries.