The Armchair Culinary Tour moves east!
Where: Not quite Europe, not quite Asia. Okay, technically Asia, if you’re being picky about the continent. West borders the Black Sea, cradled between Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia.
Snapshot: Taken by Russia in the early 1920’s, Georgia regained independence in 1991 after the collapse of the USSR. Unsettled politically, with continuing skirmishes and civil war, the country is still in transition. High landscape diversity, a broad range of biodiversity. Dominated by the Caucasus Mountain ranges, home to the deepest cave in the world (Krubera Cave). And, three different alphabets!
Time for dinner! Meat (mutton, beef, pork), walnuts, garlic, vinegars, cheeses, pickles, pungent seasonings, sturgeon. The Georgians have a wonderful dining tradition called Supra, a communal table.
The head of Supra is called Tamada, he proposes philosophical toasts, ensures guests are enjoying themselves–essentially, acts as a sophisticated (but always humorous) host.
Specialties: Khinkali (mutton dumplings), khashi (broth cooked from beef entrails), khachapuri (a thin pie filled with mildly salted cheese)
Drink up! Georgian wine is well known throughout Eurasia
Adzhika (hot pepper relish)
10 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 /4 cup chopped celery
1/2 lb fresh jalapeno pepper, including seeds
1 large red pepper
2 1 /2 cups fresh dill, chopped
1 cups cilantro, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
In a food processor, combine garlic, celery, jalapeno and red pepper, and pulse to medium coarseness. Add herbs and pulse. Put mixture in glass bowl, add vinegar and salt. Cover, refrigerate at least 24 hours before serving. Great as a side with meat.
Want to learn more? Visit Georgia here.