Culinary Tourism – Discover the Imeretian Cuisine
22 August, 2018
Culinary Tourism – Discover the Imeretian Cuisine
It is not surprising that one of Georgia’s biggest attractions is its cuisine. Colourful Georgian dishes prepared with rich, aromatic spices and herbs attract all food lovers. Their taste stays in the memory for a long time.

Georgian cuisine is very diverse and offers a big variety of meat and fish dishes together with various vegetarian meals. Therefore everyone should find something good and tasty to suit them. In addition, traditional Georgian cuisine is characterized by special regional aspects, which originate
from different parts of the country. For instance, in Georgia, you can find Imeretian, Megrelian, Svanuri, Kakhuri, Adjaruli, Mtiuluri, etc cuisine.
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Kutaisi is one of the oldest cities in Georgia. Photo courtesy: newpress.ge

Imeretian cuisine is considered to be one of the best in the country even by Georgians themselves. Kutaisi used to be one of the cities which was situated along the historic Silk Road. As a result the region developed its own culinary tradition. The flavour of most of their dishes is unique and unforgettable because of the way they are prepared and the spices added to the meals.

Below you can find a list of Imeretian dishes that should be tasted:

Imeretian Khachapuri - is simply round bread stuffed with cheese. Its special taste comes from the typical Imeratin cheese used for the filling. This type of Khachapuri is usually prepared with Imeretian Cheese, which you can find anywhere in Georgia however its origins come from the Imereti region. It is a curd cheese made from cow’s milk. It matures quickly within one or two days. It is soft and has a salty, sour taste.
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Imeretian Khachapuri is one of the most spread food in Georgia

Khachapuri on Spit - this delicious Khachapuri has an unusual shape and is very popular in the Imereti region. It is simply skewered Sulguni cheese with dough wrapped around it.

Lobio - “lobio” in Georgian means beans. It is a very popular dish and there are many varieties of it. The bean is either cooked or stewed and is prepared with coriander, walnuts, garlic and onion. When stewed (usually in earthenware pots), the beans are traditionally served with mchadi and fresh white cheese, a strong brined cheese rather like feta. However, thick slices of sourdough and a mild feta or ricotta salata also make great accompaniments.
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Lobio is very popular in Georgia

Lobiani - is similar to Khachapuri however instead of cheese it is filled with beans. In Georgia the most popular is Rachuli Lobiani, like a Khachapuri, but with beans and bacon. Lobiani is enjoyed all year round and is especially eaten on the Georgian holiday Barbaroba, or St. Barbara’s Day (December 17).
Mchadi - i is a fired or baked bread prepared with corn maze flour. It is very often served with lobio. As it is hot and often rainy, especially in Imereti and Samegrelo, corn grows everywhere there, and traditionally the everyday bread was mchadi, skillet-cooked corn muffins.
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Lobiani is sold in nearly every bakery

Pkhali - one of the most popular ingredients in Imeretian cuisine is nuts and you can find them in many types of dishes. Pkhali is a combination of ground walnuts mixed with vinegar, onions, garlic, spices, herbs and minced vegetables. It can be made with different vegetables.
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Pkhali is one of the best starters in Georgia

Aubergine and pepper with walnuts - this is another delicious combination of vegetable and nuts. The filling is made with ground walnuts, garlic, vinegar, garlic, herbs and spices.
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Aubergine is quite popular in the country

Chicken Satsivi –is a meal prepared from boiled pieces of chicken meat in a walnut sauce. The term satsivi is also used as a generic name for a variety of poultry, fish and vegetable appetizers made with the satsivi sauce. Boiled turkey or chicken pieces submerged in satsivi is a staple of winter holiday feasts, mainly New Year. During this holiday, you can see Satsivi in every Georgian family, not only in the Imereti region, but around the country.
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Satsivi is considered to be a dish for the New Year. Photo courtesy: livemaster.ge

Chakhokhbili - The name comes from the Georgian word “khokhobi” which means “pheasant,” but nowadays it is most usually made with chicken. Traditionally, a whole chicken, cut into pieces and stewed is used in the meal, plus tomato and fresh herbs. For preparing of this delicious meal, it is preferable to purchase the chicken from a hennery. If you do not have fresh tomatoes, you may use tomato-paste instead. But, nevertheless, some tomato paste should be added to the mashed fresh tomatoes. Adding of sweet pepper to this dish, gives Chakhokhbili excellent flavor.
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Everybody likes Chakhokhbili in Georgia. Photo courtesy: vinoge.com

Kharcho - is a type of soup with beef, rice, cherry plum purée and chopped walnuts. The soup is usually served with finely chopped fresh coriander. Kharcho can be made also using lamb, pork, chicken or goose.

Pickled Vegetables - Georgians are masters of pickled vegetables. In local bazaars one can find pickled cabbage, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, flowers, onions, garlic- simply everything. The pickles are a perfect addition to a typical Georgian table.
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Pickled Vegetables is very popular in Georgia

Tkemali - the most popular Georgian sour plum sauce made of cherry plums. It also contains garlic, pennyroyal, coriander, dill, chili pepper and salt. Tkemali is made from both the red and green varieties of plum. The flavor of the sauce varies, but generally tends to be pungently tart. To lower the tartness level, occasionally sweeter types of plums are added during preparation. Tkemali is used for fried or grilled meat, poultry and potato dishes, and has a place in Georgian cuisine similar to the one ketchup has in the United States. It can be made at home, but is also mass-produced by several Georgian companies.
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Tkemali is a must have sauce at every feast. Photo courtesy: kutaisi.travel

Imeretian Wine

Wine and Georgia are two inseparable things. Even UNESCO included the traditional Georgian way of making wine in qvevri, in the list of Intangible heritage. It is possible to taste different sorts of wine all over Georgia, however in Western Georgia you will find the most delicate and uncommon kind of grapes. There you can find people who make wine in a traditional, thousand- year- old way. They grow their grapevines on chemicals-free soil. The most popular and prominent Imeretian wines are Tsitska, Tsolikouri or Otskhanuri Sapere.

Tsitska is used in the production of dry, sparkling and fortified wines. As mentioned, it is part of the Imereti family of indigenous Georgian vines. It ripens late and is not especially productive, but it is highly regarded by locals. Wine made from Tsitska has a pale-straw colour and delicate aroma that improves with some barrel maturity.
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Imeretian wine is lighter to drink compared to others. Photo courtesy: allwine.ge

Tsolikouri is a light yellow-skinned white grape variety. It is cultivated in Kolkhida Lowland at an altitude of 160 m (520 ft) above sea level. This sort usually matures by mid October. Grown in the Orzhonikidze vineyards during the Soviet rule of Georgia, Tsolikouri was considered one of high-quality grapes along with the Chkhaveri and Izabella varieties. It has been used for production of premium dry, semi-sweet and semi-dry wines. According to former Soviet statesman Vyacheslav Molotov, Tsolikouri was one of favorite wines of Soviet leader, Joseph Stalin.

First photo courtesy: imedinews.ge

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