A Short Dictionary of Georgian Food
Ironically – one of the highlights of visiting Russia is an international cuisine! It’s hard to find anyone who has visited a Georgian restaurant who doesn’t rave about it endlessly afterwards. If you have yet to be initiated, use our handy dictionary to help decide what to pick off the menu.
1. Хачапури (Khachapuri)
The ultimate hangover food – although equally delicious at any time of day, in any state – khachapuri is a plateful of hot, cheesy, melty, salty, oozy, freshly-baked divinity. Traditionally served in a baked bread dish, it’s delivered to your table hot from the oven and brimming with melted cheese. At the last minute, the chef adds butter and egg yolks to the mixture, which you swirl together in a molten golden goodness, then break off a corner of the bread and start dunking. Truly, it has to be experienced to be understood. As you may guess – nope, it’s not diet food, but you know if you cut it in half all the calories fall out?
2. Хинкали (Khinkali)
You can quickly give yourself away as a tourist by the way you eat these amazing Georgian dumplings. They’re not intended for knives and forks! Those in the know eat them by hand, holding them by the stem and biting straight into them – scalding hot steam be damned. Not exactly elegant, no – what with the slurping hot sauce and slippery surfaces, but even if you chose to go for the safer option and use cutlery – you’ll still savour the inimitable combination of spicy filling and softly boiled pastry case.
3. Лобио (Lobio)
A rare vegetarian option! Those meat-free eaters amongst you may have found yourself struggling somewhat in Russia, but look no further. Lobio is a rich bean stew, the texture something like re-freid beans, but far more flavoursome. Often served with sulungi cheese (see below), lashings of herbs and spices and freshly baked bread – it’s comfort food at its finest.
4.Грузинское вино (Georgian wine)
One of the best-kept secrets of the sommelier world! Georgian wine is a delight – whether you go for red or white, its rich, fruity full-flavoured quality is up there with the best new world bottles. Added bonus: it’s often the cheapest on the wine list! An essential accompaniment to anything on this list.
5. Сулугуни (Sulguni)
The secret to hatchupuri’s moreishness, the national cheese of Georgia is a deliciously smoky, salty affair. It has the texture of feta, with the deep flavour profile of an oak-aged cheddar and the meltability of the finest French brie… and on that note I think I need to stop writing and start snacking…
If you have yet to sample any of the above – what are you waiting for!? There are lots of great Georgian restaurant in Russia. Some of the best in Moscow include Pataca which is the best high-end spot if you’re feeling fancy. The middling, imho, is Elargi and if you’re really watching the pennies, cheaper but still super-tasty options are Mart and the chain Khachapuri,
Let us know what you think! Are there any other national Georgian dishes that should have made the top spot?
This blog was brought to you by Kamila, currently studying Russian at Liden & Denz.