How to Toast in Tbilisi: Georgian Food Is Nothing Without Supra
01 May, 2018
How to Toast in Tbilisi: Georgian Food Is Nothing Without Supra
Georgian” supra” or so called tradition of feasting is not a novelty for foreigners who have visited Georgia or who have Georgian acquaintances and friends. Famous for their hospitality, Georgian people love celebrating various occasions by laying supra, Georgian feast table. This habit has fascinated many foreign guests who enjoyed sampling variety of Georgian dishes along with famous Georgian wines, while joining toasts proposed at the table or even listening to the songs performed at the supra.

An English language
travel guide fodors. com decided to devote an article to the famous tradition of supra and explain in detail its features to those who have not heard about it yet or don’t know what it is all about. According to the publication, in Georgia “toasts are so important that someone will be designated as a toastmaster (Tamada in Georgian), and toasts can range from short and funny to long and emotional." So, if you are visiting the beautiful country of Georgia, then you should be ready to join it with your own toast.
geotv.ge
Traditional Georgian feast (Supra)

Moreover, it is especially important to find some beautiful and meaningful words for your toast. According to the author of the article, “big, burly men wipe away tears after an especially poignant toast, or children expound on something surprisingly serious. In some cases, the toast goes around the table, and if you’re not prepared with something to say, you’re jokingly chastised until you find the words.”

In the region where wine was invented, it’s no wonder toasting is a serious tradition. The tradition is called supra, a large table full of unique Georgian wine and extremely delicious traditional dishes.
geotv.ge
Georgian feast

The travel publication introduces its readers the legend Georgians tell about wine: “The myth starts with a question: Why did Georgians inherit all this beautiful land? And the answer goes: Back when God was creating the world, He told people to meet him certain time and then divided out the land to those in attendance.

Everything in Georgia happens on Georgian time (read: slowly), so the Georgians came late. God said, “I already gave away all the land.” To which the Georgians replied, “We’re sorry we were late. We were at a table drinking to you.” God, pleased with this toast in his honor, replied, “If that’s the case, then I will give you the best piece of land, the one I was reserving for myself.” And that region was Georgia.”
geotv.ge
Bronze statue of sitting Tamada (toastmaster) with wine horn on Sioni’s Street in old Tbilisi

The article also stresses the fact that while neighboring countries have similar traditions, often toasting with local liquors or other spirits, Georgia is the only one that is centered around wine only. And it is absolutely natural, as wine is considered to be the national drink and the subject of being proud for the local population.

The exact definition of Supra

As the author of the article explains, “supra technically means tablecloth, but a broader translation is “having a feast,” and a simpler one is “toast.” Or, as Brockett says, “It’s Georgian Thanksgiving, except that it happens every day for every reason.”
geotv.ge
Wine horns for sale

Supra can be held for weddings, for friends who haven’t seen each other for ages, or even to celebrate new appliances. It’s a tradition of saying thanks to things communally and giving people an opportunity to be grateful in a public way.

Every supra is led by a toastmaster, (Tamada in Georgian). In formal settings, this person must be a professional toastmaster.

In home settings, anyone can be nominated as the toastmaster, as long as they know the proper toasts. You cannot nominate yourself.

“There is a list of toasts that must be said, ranging from three to 20, depending on the occasion. No matter what, the first three toasts will be given to God, to the reason the feast is happening, and to God again. The remaining 17 each cover specific topics.
geotv.ge
Old Tbilisi

A professional toastmaster knows all 20 toasts, and a good toastmaster will take these specific toasts and give them a wider lens,” fodors. com informs its readers.
However, you do not have to drink all the 20 toasts while having fun at Georgian supra. But if you are a foreign visitor of the country, then you should get ready for the fact that your host will definitely encourage that you do. It is a part of world-famous Georgian hospitality, because the host wants to please one’s guests as much as possible.
geotv.ge
Art of tasting in Tbilisi

“Needless to say, a toastmaster should be interesting enough to keep people’s attention 20 times in a row on a night where they’ve been drinking heavily,” notes the author of the article.

How to Participate in Supra on Your Trip to Georgia

For experiencing real charm of Georgian supra, the website offers traditional restaurants in Tbilisi, such as Barbarestan, Tsiskvili, Georgian House Restaurant, and Old Vake. Here locals gather to dine and drink wine, so you will definitely have the opportunity to see supra in action during your meal.

Yet to understand what a real Georgian supra is like, it is recommended to visit a local family where this tradition is observed at best.
geotv.ge
Tiblisi, Georgia, early 19th century

At the end of the article, the author describes Georgian feast and its traditional characteristics in quite funny manner: “if you make Georgian friends, you will most likely be invited to a supra at their home at some point during your stay. These can be long events, so be prepared. You will eat a lot, drink a lot, and be encouraged (or forced, depending on how you look at it), to stay even after you say you must go home.”

Related stories:

National Geographic: Red, White, or Orange, Wine Is a Required Taste in Tbilisi

How to survive a Georgian feast – BBC

A Chef Brings Georgian Supra to London – The Wall Street Journal

“In Georgia only drink your wine during a toast” – 10 Surprising food etiquette rules around the world

CNN: Heavy drinking in Tbilisi, Georgia
Print
Other Stories
Five Things About Kartuli That’ll Make You Say “Vaime!”
Home to a history that spans millennia and one of the world’s most diverse (and delicious!) cuisines, Georgia’s got a lot to brag about.
Four seasons are not enough! - Well known campaign takes new turn
The online campaign #spendyoursummeringeorgia was extended to four seasons. And it will keep growing, as Keta Goletiani, one of the founders explains.
On the stairways to heaven
It is not very easy to access the Katskhi pillar in the western Imereti region. But it’s worth your time as “CNN travel” states after they hit the road.
Beshumi to Ushguli: Four days in paradise
Georgian Photographer Giorgi Shermazanashvili made a trip from Beshumi to Ushguli. His pictures capture the great beauty of Georgia's west.
First snow arrives in Kazbegi (Watch video)
It is end of August and the first snow has already arrived in Kazbegi.
Easy summer destinations for Tbilisi travellers
Summer is the busiest period in terms of tourism. Here are 4 places a foreign visitor should see in Georgia, Tbilisi to experience city’s modern and traditional mix.
Sakartvelo TOP-1 – Why is Georgia number 1 for the Belarusian photographer?
Georgia among Georgians is called Sakartvelo. This is the name how the Belarusian tourist calls this country.
American diplomat about Georgia: “Every single city has left me wanting more”
Kristen Crocker, American Diplomat has recently visited Georgia.
Forbes: “Georgia (The Country) Is On Everyone’s Mind”
Forbes, an American business magazine, has recently published an article about Georgia.
Amazon Jungle in Georgia - Kolkheti National Park
Kolkheti National Park is located in the western part of Georgia and intends to protect the wetland nature of Kolkheti.
Abudelauri Colorful Lakes – Magical Place to See In Georgia
A Magical, mysterious place, home of the Khevsuretian Gods, with a view of spectacular Chiukhi Mountain,
Koruldi Lakes in Svaneti – Heaven On Earth
Koruldi Lakes is one of the most magical places in Georgia.
Svaneti – the most untouched place by the outside world
French photographer Julien Pebrel traveled to Georgia last summer.
5 must-see lesser-known places in Kakheti
Kakheti is located in the eastern part of Georgia.
Euronews: "Batumi as a center of youth culture"
Euronews has recently published an article about Batumi, a seaside town in Georgia.
Russian tourist in Batumi explains why Russians should not come to Georgia
It has been more than a week since demonstrations have started in Tbilisi and are held daily.
How "Spend Your Summer in Georgia" campaign started?
The group includes around 207 000 members of Facebook and it has been only couple of days since the campaign was launched.
Why Georgia? – Photographer Eddy Li speaks about his experience
As the number of tourists coming to Georgia rises, so does the number of international photographers.
Visit Gudamakari surrounded by the Greater Caucasus Mountains
Gudamakari is a historical area in northeastern Georgia surrounded by Mtiuleti, Khevi, Khevsureti and Pshavi (slopes of the Greater Caucasus Mountains).
Georgia among Eid Al Fitr destinations
Where to mark Eid Al Firt? This is the question many of the residents of the Arabian countries will ask themselves as soon as Ramadan is over.
Visit Turtle Lake via the renovated cable car
If you are in Tbilisi and looking for a quiet place surrounded by the greenery, Georgian Journal will show you a perfect option.
5 places to visit for entertainment in Tbilisi
Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia offers a lot of options to those visitors who love to go out, have fun and enjoy the active part of the city.
4 reasons why Georgia should be your next destination by Ftnnews
Ftnnews, a website about traveling has recently published an article about why Georgia should be travelers’ next destination.
Georgia and Ukraine have nothing in common when it comes to traveling
Kyiv Post has recently devoted an article to Georgia.
Former Swiss Ambassador to Georgia Lukas Beglinger settles down in Ujarma
Lukas Beglinger, a former ambassador of Switzerland to Georgia has left the homeland to live in Georgia.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
GEL Exchange Rate
Convertor
13.12.2019
14.12.2019
USD
1
USD
2.8661
2.8661
EUR
1
EUR
3.1900
3.1900
GBP
1
GBP
3.7821
3.7821
RUB
100
RUB
4.5362
4.5362