Every country has its own peculiarities and ideology, which is taken into account in the vast number of national recipes. Georgian cuisine is no exception – many dishes in its framework are based on the contrast of hot and spicy, which gives the cuisine a unique taste.
If you want to know what Georgians eat, just visit Genatsvale Georgian Restaurant. There, you can try some khinkali, khachapuri, pelamushi (A Georgian dessert with grape juice and walnuts), and many kinds of Eastern European and Mediterranean food.
Historically, Georgia as a country is divided by the Surami pass into Western and Eastern Georgia. This geographic divide left a significant imprint on Georgia’s culture and the culinary traditions of the territories, not unlike the Berlin Wall that divided East and West Berlin for nearly 30 years, leaving changes on their culture and cuisine. Consequently, there are significant differences between Eastern and Western Georgia, their main foods and diets no exception:
– In the Western part of the country, corn tortillas and cornbread are very common, and the main meat consumed is poultry (mainly turkeys and chickens). In this territory, millet is also popular. Porridge is cooked from it, which is often used as a substitute for bread.
– The inhabitants of Eastern Georgia prefer wheat bread, and the favourite type of meat is lamb and beef.
Although these differences exist, one cannot speak of them as insurmountable, because the main culinary peculiarities nevertheless remain the same both in the West and in the East.
The first thing you may notice is the absence of one specific type of meat that is valued more highly than others. Georgian dishes can contain poultry, lamb, and pork with beef. For example, khinkali (Georgian-style dumplings) can either be made with lamb, pork, or beef.
Such tolerance for an abundance of meat is clearly manifested in the unique “Bull on Spit” dish, where calf, lamb, turkey, goose and chicken are placed in the carcass of a large bull.
Fish dishes are less common. Fish is mainly used in areas located in close proximity to rivers.
Due to the country mainly being Orthodox Christian, they observed Lent – a solemn religious observance, which usually meant that observers would not eat meat. Because of this, there are a lot of recipes for Georgian vegetarian dishes. Most of those cuisines include cabbage, tomatoes, beets, eggplant and beans. Another interesting ingredient of Georgian foods is nuts. They are a very common ingredient in recipes for sauces & combined seasonings and are added to both hot and main dishes.
When speaking about Georgian cuisine, one simply cannot ignore herbs. Spices like basil, cilantro, tarragon, savoury and more are used all year round. And of course, how can you forget about pickled cheeses with sour-milk, fresh, spicy and salty tastes?
As for cooking methods, the most popular method to cook cuisine within Georgia is an open fire. Some dishes are prepared in a special clay stove, though. When frying, small stone pans are used, called ketsi.
A variety of sauces, unique fermented milk products and cooking methods, a national love for spices, vegetables and meat: Georgian cuisine simply has something for everyone – avid meat-eaters, vegetarians, pescetarians, you name it! It is interesting and unique in its culture, and you don’t even need to fly there to experience it: you can dig into the best Georgian food in Toronto in Genatsvale Georgian Restaurant.