Cuisines of Adjara and Guria
ADJARA AND GURIA CULINARY TOUR
In Adjara and Guria, mountains and sea combine to present a unique natural setting and a mild climate, which also determines their culinary output. Cooks make liberal use of local herbs and spices in vegetable and bean dishes, corn bread (mchadi) and the Adjarian sweets baklava and shakar lama. Plentiful dairy products and nuts are at hand for richer dishes.
Places to visit
Petra is the site of a historic fortress located on the narrow road that linked it to 6th century Byzantium, Persia and Armenia. It also controlled the Black Sea trade routes which were contested over the centuries by these neighbouring powers. Today it is known as the village of Tsikhisdziri.
Gonio fortress was first mentioned in the writings of Pliny the Younger in the first century AD. Later Genoa and Venice were interested in its conquest.
Dishes to taste
The star of the Adjarian kitchen is acharuli khachapuri, a boat-shaped bread filled with local cheese, and distinguished from other Georgian khachapuri by the egg and melted butter baked in the well on top.
In order to make chirbuli, eggs Adjarian style, corn flour and onions are sautéed in butter, flavourings of garlic, salt and kvatsarakhi--tart barberry syrup--are added and finally the eggs.
borano might be called the Georgian version of fondue as it is a mixture of melted butter poured over crumbled Adjarian cheese. It is a versatile condiment.
daptsnili is a braided cheese and a well-known specialty of the region.
sinori comes in a savoury or sweet version. It is a roll of thin flat bread stuffed with a mixture of either cottage cheese, garlic, spices, and topped with mixed greens, or flavoured with honey or sugar.
achma is a type of khachapuri made with layered dough.
acharuli iakhni is a hearty dish of beef stewed with onion, garlic, nuts and spices.
baklava is a sweet confection of phyllo dough layered with nuts and held together with honey.
shakar lama cookies are made from a buttery dough and almonds or hazelnuts.
kvirkvali--plain beans--are often served with fowl, along with vegetable pâté and mchadi (corn patties). The Gurian way of frying mchadi or fish is to wrap these in grape or walnut leaves for a unique flavour.
satsivi of fish, and fried chicken with rice from the Gurian kitchen are worth noting because of their rich, nut-based sauces.
guruli khachapuri is baked in the shape of a half moon and stuffed with cheese and chopped egg.
guruli iapopka soya flour bread with chopped nuts and egg
janjukha a sausage-shaped sweet with nuts
Wines to savour
Tsolikauri is the most popular white wine grape in western Georgia. Ninety percent of vineyards are planted to tsolikauri which yields a wine with stone fruit and floral flavours. Chkhaveri is an amber-coloured wine
Day 1: Arrival in Kutaisi, transfer to hotel, city tour. overnight in hotel
Day 2: Tour to Adjaristskali village, master class in Adjarian cuisine and sampling, wine degustation. overnight in Batumi
Day 3: Excursion to Mtirala National Park, pic-nick, free time, overnight in Batumi
Day 4: Departure to Guria, master class in Gurian cuisine and sampling, wine degustation, overnight in Batumi
Day 5: Departure from Batumi
Note: Price depends on type of accommodation and number of persons.
Samtskhe-Javakheti and Kvemo Kartli (Lower Kartli) are located in the Lesser Caucasus mountain range. Elsewhere in southern Georgia the soil is of volcanic origin with semi-volcanic lakes scattered in the valleys. The cuisine, not unexpectedly, is just as different. Kartlian cuisine is dominated by vegetables and soups, Meskheti is famous for its breads and cheeses.
Samegrelo contains the land of Colchis where the legendary king Aeëtes, son of Helios, ruled. It was also the homeland of Medea, with whose help Jason obtained the golden fleece. As for Svaneti, because of its isolation among some of the highest mountain peaks of the Greater Caucasus range, it preserves an unwritten language and aspects of culture that are pre-Christian. The medieval Svan towers rise from the rugged terrain like sentinels. Because Samegrelo and Svaneti are neighbouring regions--one on the coast at the foot of the mountains the other in them--their cuisines are similar to some degree yet remain distinct. An attentive gourmet will, for example, easily taste the difference between sulguni cheeses from these two regions.
This trip will take you to the cradle of wine production--Kakheti--where you will see the centuries-old, traditional way of making wine in vessels buried in the ground, and taste the product of some of Georgia’s more than 500 grape varieties. Sample shoti fresh out of the round stone oven or sweets as they are being made. In mountainous Tusheti--to some the most beautiful part of Georgia--you can taste the famous guda, a sheep’s milk cheese historically aged in sheepskin. In both Kakheti and Tusheti you may learn, hands on, to make local dishes.
The Pshavi-Khevsureti region has always played a big role in the life of the nation. In times of danger the population would gather the nation’s greatest treasures and run to the mountains. Mountain villages were strongly fortified, often with defensive towers which during time of peace were used for domestic activity. The best example of such a village is Shatili. The geographic location and the way of life in this region have given rise to a unique cuisine. One of Georgia’s most popular dishes, khinkali, originated
You will travel through the two most beautiful regions of Georgia, neighbours Imereti and Racha. Much as they resemble each other in natural conditions, their character and way of life are distinct. Most of Imereti is lowland except for the norhth where it borders on mountainous Racha. The two regions have overlapping culinary repertoire (corn based dishes and sauces with nuts) as well as fare typical of each.