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
What to take for a trip to Tbilisi – Tips from  New York Times
Lots of tourists arrive in Georgia, Tbilisi, especially in summer, when tourist season is in its peak. But not everyone knows which items to take with during the trip to Tbilisi.
Archeological artifacts found during rehabilitation works of Gudiashvili Square, Tbilisi
Recently a new discovery has been made in a historic Gudiashvili Square, located in the heart of Tbilisi, near Liberty Square.
Georgian specialists to rehabilitate abandoned Oshki dome in Tao-Klarjeti
A group of Georgian specialists and scientists have been sent to Tao-Klarjeti, a historic province that used to belong to Georgia
Discovery of the largest and oldest Basilica in Georgia
In Georgia, it was a sensation when an archeological expedition unearthed Doloshopi Basilica in Kakheti region, that is considered to be the oldest within the country.
Euronews advices travelers to visit spectacular Prometheus caves in Georgia
Summer season is the best time to travel in Georgia and explore some of the most distinguished sites. Fortunately, there are lots of places in Georgia to visit.
Horce race festival of Tusheti Region captured by Polish photographer
The Polish photographer Magdalena Konik is a frequent visitor of Georgia and is interested in exploring both traditions and sites of the country.
National Tourism Administration develops hiking trails in Georgia
Georgia is well known for it diverse nature and a plenty of places for hiking and camping.
Top 10 magical lakes to visit in Georgia
Summer is approaching, and everyone seeks for the places to chill out in the lap of nature far from the city noise and pollution.
The Guardian names Georgia as an alternative to the Alps
Georgia’s unique beauty and exotic wild nature has attracted the attention of the numerous international publications already.
Forbes: Why Georgia is the next great food and wine destination
Georgian culture, traditions and hospitality often attract the attention of the leading international media.
10 castle villages of Georgia’s Tusheti Region to be studied and rehabilitated
Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili announced launching of inventory and study works in 10 castle villages of Tusheti,
From Georgia to Lebanon: exploring the best wines of the ancient world
As it is widely known, Georgia is one of the oldest wine regions in the world.
National Geographic to cover stories about Georgia and promote tourism industry
Georgian National Tourism Administration of the Ministry of Economy and sustainable development of Georgia
Most charming historic buildings of Tbilisi - A trip through the city’s past
Tbilisi, Georgia’s beautiful capital, is distinguished by a number of features making the city a unique
Story of Georgian oda houses in Samegrelo told through photos
Samegrelo, one of the richest and most beautiful regions of Georgia, is distinguished by many unique features
National Geographic explores Georgia’s ex-Soviet spa resorts
National Geographic has recently visited Georgia’s crumbling ex-Soviet spa resorts.
The Independent on Svaneti: How to hike through most remote region in Georgia
Svaneti, Georgia’s remote highland has always been quite an attractive place for the tourists and foreign visitors
Inaugural Experts name Tbilisi Best Emerging Destination 2018
Well-known travel website tripexpert.com has named Georgia’s capital Tbilisi Best Emerging Destination 2018.
Georgia’s Goderdzi resort turned into vanilla ice cream “wonderland” by pink snow
Recently Georgia’s latest ski resort Goderdzi was covered with pink snow creating the association of giant vanilla ice-cream.
Unknown medieval monastery ruins discovered in Georgia
Ruins of a previously unknown medieval monastery have been discovered in Georgia’s south.
National Geographic Traveler Names Batumi in Top 10 Tourist Cities in Europe
Georgia’s seaside city of Batumi, the capital of Adjara Region is becoming more and more attractive for the tourists
Georgia’s David Gareji complex among 7 most endangered heritage sites in Europe
Europa Nostra, the leading heritage organization in Europe, and the European Investment Bank Institute
Mesmerizing view of Ushba Mount captured in Georgia’s Svaneti Region
It is impossible to visit highlands of Georgia and stay unimpressed.
CENN gives recommendations to Georgian government on road constructions in remote highlands
CENN is a non-governmental organisation working to protect their environment fostering sustainable development throughout the South Caucuses.
Number of visitors increased by 98% in highlands of Georgia’s Adjara Region
According to the latest statistics, mountainous part of Georgia’s seaside Adjara Region
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Exchange Rates
GEL Exchange Rate
Convertor
18.07.2018
19.07.2018
USD
1
USD
2.4488
2.4488
EUR
1
EUR
2.8700
2.8700
GBP
1
GBP
3.2434
3.2434
RUB
100
RUB
3.9137
3.9137