Georgian food is like in all countries quite appropriately an expression of their culture. It is warm, nutritious and finds its balance with herbs like estragon, flat parley, dill and coriander.
AUBERGINES WITH WALNUTS
Honestly, this is the best dish we found in the whole country and most definitely one of the first things we will cook as soon as we stand in a proper kitchen again. Here is the recipe for you at home should you feel creative in the meantime:
1 cup walnuts
1 clove garlic
Pomegranate, walnut oil, parsley, celery, estragon, coriander, vinegar, pepper and salt to taste
Cut off the aubergine’s heads and slice them with four deep cuts in their body. Put the aubergines into a saucepan and cook in their own juice. When the aubergines are done, put them on a dish and press down with something heavy to get all the juice out. Mix pounded walnuts, pounded garlic and greens and paste the aubergines with the mass. Put them on a plate and pour walnut oil on them. Serve on green salad and decorate with pomegranate seeds.
Khinkali are dumplings filled with minced, spiced meat and usually served in enormous quantities. Eating khinkali is not like what you’re used to doing with dumplings. First of all, you use only your hands. Cutting the large dumpling would spill the juice and ruin the taste. So, you grab the dumpling however you like and take a small bite out of the side to slurp up the juice. Don’t spill any juice or the Georgians watching you will start laughing plus you’ll get your chin messy. Then, still holding the khinkali, eat around the top, finishing the dumpling and then placing the twisted top on your plate—it’s considered a mark of poverty in finances and taste to eat the doughy top.
The omnipresent cheese filled bread resembles cheese pie or even “Chäschüechli”. Every region has their own khachapuri style. It comes with every meal and you easily get tired of it.
Brown rubbery truncheons made from strings of walnuts dipped in something sweet and dried. Sometimes referred to as “Georgian Snickers.” Don’t eat the string or simply don’t eat them at all.
Fruit and vegetables are a real treat and always organic. Seriously, they spoil your taste buds forever.
Georgians take their tradition of toasting very seriously. They only toast with wine, brandy or vodka, never with soft drinks. And they only toast with beer if the wish someone bad luck. The toast master always sits at the short end of a table, he is always a man and he starts with the toast. Then everyone has to make a speech in return – the more personal and emotional the better – then everybody empties their glass in one big sip. Never ever take a sip before the toast master has done so, and this might take a while.