Singing Praises to Bulbuli Market
26 December, 2016
Singing Praises to Bulbuli Market
Life is a breeze if you’re a European farmer. Well, maybe not exactly a breeze, but you can at least sustain yourself and your business and get enough opportunities to show your product around, which is key to success and expanding further. What we are getting at are festivals – the all-important venue where you put out that delicious cheese and beacon done according to the grandma’s recipe, or that wine you’ve been trying to develop a bouquet for last two years already and see how people like it, and last but by far not the least, see how others from your field have been doing. In Europe those opportunities come aplenty – in Georgia not so much. It is quite a shame, really, considering that Bazaar traditions in Tbilisi and Georgia in general count centuries. Sure, we have occasional cheese and wine festivals from time to time, but those are not as frequent as one would like and in most cases, are too specialized for first-time guests and viewers. One emergent festival plans to change things for the better, though – Bulbuli (Nightingale In Georgian) market, organized by Georgia’s Wine Tourism Association, was a resounding success when held first in November, and made a comeback for this year’s Christmas Eve.
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This time it was held at the Muza cultural center, with 75 companies from different regions of Georgia taking part, including winemakers, farmers, cooks and artists.

The festival was held in the form of a Christmas fair, where traditional Georgian and European cuisine was presented, as well as wines, teas, sweets, dairy products and handmade products. The public could taste and purchase the presented items, as well as take part in various activities, like lottery, dances and children’s activities.

One of the organizers, Elene Bukhaidze, says the aim of the event was to connect different people from various companies, as well as opening new perspectives to them.
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‘We try to help them get popular and increase their sells. There are presented cafes and restaurants, as well as producers of bio-products, like cheese and honey. The producers will keep the money collected in this event for themselves. This festival is held for the second time and we plan to organize more events like thins in spring and autumn’, - Bukhaidze says.

Among visitors was game designer extraordinaire and visual reality expert Mark Rein-Hagen, who has been living in Georgia for
the last 9 years. Surrounded with children, Rein-Hagen loudly confessed his love for Georgia and also reminisced on how much Georgia has developed during the years he has spent living here. “When I first came, even buying a hamburger was a potential problem” – he announced, lauding the festivals wide choice of fusion dishes. “events like these are best for attracting tourists, and its good these people, small and medium scale enterprisers are given a chance to show around their production”.
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One booth still stood out, however - a “delegation” from one of Georgia’s most beautiful places, the mountainous Tusheti. ”Tusheti 2015” cooperative presented endemic Tushetian honey, Guda cheese, other dairy products, tea, potatoes, traditional spirits and other handmade items. The cooperative was created in 2015, with the assistance of the Czech non-governmental organization ‘Caritas Czech Republic in Georgia’. Marina Guzarauli, the representative of the company says this kind of festival is of vital importance to Tushetian enterprisers.

‘Our production is made in Tusheti and is biologically cleaner than most of imported competition. I think this is our advantage. We were assisted by the Caritas Czech Republic.
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Right now our cooperative consists of 6 persons and our family members are involved as well. We have greenhouses, where potatoes and vegetables are cultivated. We were the first to cultivate cucumbers in Tusheti and we sold them to the local hotels’, - Guzarauli says.

She added that raising awareness is key to the cooperative’s activities. People must know that it is important to buy healthy products.

‘We want to have many customers and this festival is the best opportunity for us. It will be good if this kind of festival is held systematically. We would also like to have more options in terms of delivering our products. It also prevents Tushetian people from leaving – if there is profit to be made, they’ll stay and continue producing their goods’, - Guzarauli says.

By Tatia Akhvlediani
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