The Georgian Toasting and Unique Wine Drinking Traditions in Georgia

GEORGIAN WINE - Everywhere we have traveled in the Republic of Georgia, there has been toasting. The Georgian toasting traditions are unique in the world. They make you think twice about what is important in your life. If you know about Georgian toasting traditions, you may want to incorporate some of them in your own relationships with your family and friends. In any case, you should be prepared if you plan to travel to Georgia or have Georgian friends. That’s why we would like to share our experience with you in this article.

Georgian Wine
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Georgian cuisine

Georgians tend to invite their guests to elaborate meals, where they generously serve Georgian wine (and brandy). A Georgian meal can last for hours. Dishes are put on the table in seemingly random order. If one is finished, new food is supplied. Some key foods on the Georgian table are bread (including the delicious khachapuri or cheese bread) and dishes with rich, mildly spicy sauces. Common flavors in Georgian cuisine include coriander, fenugreek and walnuts, but many more herbs and spices are used.

Cookbook Review: Cuisines of the Caucasus Mountains: Recipes, Drinks ..

cuisines of the caucasus mountains cookbook
CAUCASUS COOKBOOKS - If you are looking for an English cookbook with recipes from the Caucasus region, you have only a few choices.  One available title is “Cuisines of the Caucasus Mountains: Recipes, Drinks and Lore from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Russia”. It is written by Kay Shaw Nelson and was first published in 2002. We bought the 2007 Kindle version for € 13.61 ($ 17.87).

Regional cooking

A book about regional cuisine usually has recipes in the context of the culture, history and traditions of that region. According to its introduction, “Cuisines of the Caucasus Mountains“ wants to show us how:
 “We find distinct culinary influences [in Caucasus cuisines] from the Greeks, Romans, Persians, Arabs, Turks, and Central Asians as they passed through or occupied the area, and there are also some Slavic or Russian contributions. Today, the region's cuisine is perhaps best described as a joyful mélange of Persian, Turkish, Greek, and Mediterranean dishes, with many innovations and improvements”.

Cookbook Review: The Georgian Feast

The Georgian Feast

Vibrant Culture and Savory Food of the Republic of Georgia

Author:      Darra Goldstein
Publisher:  University of California Press
Language:  English
Illustrated: Yes

GEORGIAN CUISINE - The Georgian Feast is one of the most thorough cookbooks ever published in English about Georgian cuisine (the republic of Georgia in the Caucasus region, not the state in the US). It is written by Darra Goldstein and was first published in 1993. We have the 1999 paperback edition.

Georgia Means Wining and Dining

The Georgian Feast has a very accurate title. Dining Georgian style is indeed a feast, an event. It isn’t just about enjoying a meal. The Georgian Feast describes Georgian cuisine in its cultural context of hospitality, dining, wine making and drinking. About one third of the book consists of information on Georgian culture, history, with a particular focus on wining and dining traditions. Quotes from travelers who visited Georgia as early as the seventeenth century are given as vivid illustrations. There are some old photographs of typical scenes as well. Georgian toasting rituals are explained.

Mtsvadi - Georgian Shashlyk მწვადი

GEORGIAN CUISINE - When in the mountains or forest for hunting, Georgians like to make their own shish kebab. In such cases they like to use the meat of an ibex, but shish kebab can also be made with pork.

Georgian cuisine - mtsvadi

500 grams pork
white wine vinegar
1 onion
handful of pomegranate seeds
skewers (1 or 2  per person)

Clean the meat and cut it into small blocks. Dust with salt and vinegar and put them on the skewers. Grill the meat in the barbecue or in an oven for 10-15 mnutes. Put the skewers on a big plate. Peel the onion and cut it into rings. Decorate the shish kebab with the onion rings and pomegranate seeds.
Serve with tkhemali (plum sauce).

Ajapsandali recipe – vegetable hotch potch აჯაფსანდალი

GEORGIAN RECIPES - Adzjapsandali is made in large quantities in autumn and preserved for the winter period. Served in an earthenware dish with a wooden spoon, adjapsandali brings warmth and a comfortable atmosphere to a cold winter day.

Georgian cuisine - Adzjapsandali

Georgian restaurants worldwide have a lot to offer

TBILISI, GEORGIA - Georgian cuisine, along with Georgian wine, is famous. Many people who travel to Georgia, say they are going there for the food and wine. Georgia has no shortage of restaurants. If you go to the tourist areas in the big cities like Tbilisi and Batumi, you can count on paying a ‘tourist’ price for a limited number of well-known Georgian dishes, like khatchapuri and khinkali.

Georgian cuisine and Georgian restaurants

But if you look a little bit further, or if you are lucky enough to have Georgian friends, you can find many local restaurants where the Georgians go themselves. You will find an abundance of wonderful fresh and tasty dishes there, at the lowest prices. Georgians will take any opportunity to throw a party and enjoy good food and wine. Usually, a family or group of friends overloads the table with many different dishes. Each person has a small plate and eats small bits of the different foods during the dinner. Georgian feasts take a long time, with lots of toasting and singing.

Where to eat in the republic of Georgia

TBILISI, GEORGIA - If you are planning a trip to the Republic of Georgia, you have probably heard about Georgian cuisine, wine and toasting rituals. And you would like to experience them yourself. Now where can you find a good place to eat and drink in Georgia?

Georgian cuisine and georgian food
The best thing is of course to be invited by Georgians into their home. Then you'll often be served house wine and the traditional Georgian dishes. They will also make you part of the Georgian toasting rituals. But if you don't have Georgian friends (yet), don't worry. There are many restaurants you can visit, both in and outside of the cities. There are some differences you should know about.

Badrijani recipe – stuffed eggplants ბადრიჯანი

GEORGIAN RECIPES - Badrijani(Georgian ბადრიჯანი) is one of the best known vegetarian foods in Georgia. It is eggplants stuffed with a tasty wallnut mass. It is considered to be a side dish in Georgia, but in our experience it is nourishing enough to be a main course when  served with rice.

Badrijani recipe georgian cuisine
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Satsivi recipe – turkey in walnut sauce საცივი

Georgian recipes - Satsivi
GEORGIAN RECIPES - SATSIVI - ‘Tsivi’ means ‘cold’ in Georgian. ‘Satsivi’ means: ‘that which has cooled down’. This name refers to a tasteful dish with turkey, served at room temperature or at least not too hot.

 1,5 kilograms of turkey with bones (or 1 chicken)
 400 grams of peeled walnuts
 3 teaspoons of ground coriander seeds
 4 onions
 3 cloves of garlic
 ½ teaspoon of cinnamon
 5 cloves
 1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar
 1 teaspoon of ground fenugreek seeds
 2 teaspoon of Georgian saffron
 ground red pepper

Khinkali recipe – meat dumplings ხინკალი

GEORGIAN CUISINE - In northern and eastern Georgia, Khinkali(Georgian ხინკალი) is is as common as a pizza or hamburger in the West. There are many specialized Khinkali restaurants in Georgia, called “sachinkle”. Khinkali is eaten by sticking a fork in the thick dough part on top and eating away the stuffed part. The thick dough part is then left on the plate. Khinkali is best enjoyed with a glass of beer.

Khinkali recipe georgian cuisine
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