21 Oct Please The Palate Pick of the Week: The Deliciousness of Georgian Food
I am unsure what my expectations were for the food in the Republic of Georgia. But after spending a week there, I can say that my expectations were exceeded. Georgian food might very well be one of the world’s most underrated cuisines. At every meal, the table would be covered with lots of small dishes to be enjoyed family-style. Every single meal while in the Republic of Georgia was delicious, and I cannot stop thinking about what I ate. That is why the deliciousness of Georgian food is the Please The Palate pick of the week.
Georgia has an 8000-year-old history. And over those years, there have been influences from Greece and the Mediterranean, as well as Turkey and Persia. The Republic of Georgia is very agricultural and meat was historically reserved for special occasions. Vegetarian dishes have a dominant place on the Georgian table. That is what stands out the most. Over the course of a week, we had some meat dishes but our tables were full of vegetarian dishes.
Almost every meal included a salad of fresh red tomatoes and cucumbers.
Many types of mushrooms grow in Georgia and we enjoyed them sauteed and fried.
Eggplant is another common vegetable. We enjoyed it in numerous dishes with tomatoes and herbs.
Ajapsandali is spicy Georgian eggplant stew.
Georgia is a leading walnut producer in the world and walnuts are also found in almost every dish. In Badrijani Nigvzit, strips of roasted eggplant (badrijan) are wrapped around walnut paste.
In addition to eggplant, and peppers, wrapped around walnut paste, we also enjoyed Pkhali, vegetable pâté with walnut paste.
Khinkali are Georgian dumplings typically filled with meat or cheese and look like twisted knobs of dough. They are served boiled or steamed. And, they are filled with hot broth, similar to soup dumplings.
In addition to walnuts, eggplant, tomatoes, and pomegranate, cheese is very common ingredient in Georgia and was served at every meal. There was gouda, smoked cheese, and Sulguni, a salted, water-soaked cheese with a moist middle and often paired with herbs and tomatoes.
Of course, we also ate Khachapuri, a traditional Georgian dish of cheese-filled bread. There are different variations across Georgia but what we enjoyed numerous times was a round pie stuffed with cheese.
And a stand out dish was a version of Khachapuri with a puff pastry with cheese and butter and sprinkled with paprika.
And last but not least there was puri (bread) which is traditionally baked in a deep circular clay oven called a tone.
Fresh ingredients and full of flavor, the food in the Republic of Georgia exceeded any expectations.