Cuisines of Fshav-Khevsureti
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
Places to visit
Shatili is a unique monument of Georgian architecture. This mountain village was home
and fortress at the same time, and has guarded Georgia’s north-eastern borders
throughout the centuries. Shatili was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007.
Near the village of Lebaiskari stands the tower of the same name. It dates from the
middle ages and is a fine example of the building skills of the mountain people. Inside,
its five storeys are connected by movable, wooden stairs. The overall shape is
pyramidal, the ground floor served as stable and storage, the top floor has a dome, and
four small balconies run around the tower.
Mutso towers The village of Mutso was abandoned more than a century ago but four
towers and ruins of residential buildings still stand, 1880 m above sea level. Among
them is the Torgva Dzagani tower with which many legends are connected. A
rehabilitation project has been underway since 2004. Nature in this region is rugged,
beautiful and unspoilt.
Legends of mountain people with unique strength and skills abound around Mutso and
Ardoti. In 1904 for example, during the Russo-Japanese War, a master of khridoli
(traditional sword and buckler fencing from these mountains) is said to have done away
with 100 samurai fighters on the island of Sakhalin before he himself was shot in the
The Anatori crypts are located three km from Shatili and are what remains of
communal tombs connected with outbreaks of the plague. It is said that infected
villagers would come here voluntarily to avoid spreading the disease.
Dishes to savour
khinkali is a pocket-like dumpling with a distinctive folded appearance. Local
appreciation standards say: the more folds, the tastier. Traditionally it is filled with meat
in a flavourful broth but potato, cottage cheese or mushroom may also be used. Finer
distinctions come with the place of origin, such as mokheuri or mtiuluri (from Mokhevi or
Mtiuleti). It is traditionally accompanied by beer or vodka.
qaurma heart or liver from local cattle (goat or beef) stewed in a herb sauce
chimuri a corn patty fried in butter
khavitsi a butter, flour and sugar confection
mkhlovana a khachapuri stuffed with local herbs
The most common drinks in the eastern highlands are beer and vodka. The beer (ludi)
is made from barley and the vodka--the local variety is known as chipitauri--is distilled
from a variety of fruits.
Note: price depends on type of accommodation and number of persons
Wake up with a strong Greek coffee and eat foods steeped in Byzantine history. Sip on ouzo in one of the city's best ouzeris while wandering through open-air markets. Soak up the hustle and bustle of Athonos Square of Thessaloniki and get a sugar fix while sampling syrupy siropiasta.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Travel through beautiful highland countryside, we reach the oldest distillery in Scotland, the Glenturret, home of the Famous Grouse, the best selling whisky in Scotland. Three drams of the Famous Grouse are sipped every single second!