Georgian Cheese – Inimitable Taste, Quality and Variety
14 February, 2013
Georgian Cheese – Inimitable Taste, Quality and Variety
Discover Georgian cheese, which offers far more than four sorts

Here we talk again about our ancient traditions. If you asked a Georgian person some three years ago, how many sorts of Cheese we had, they would not hesitate to answer that there were its four kinds : Sulguni, typical Imeretian, factory cheese (so-called Karkhnuli) and traditional Guda Cheese. But what about Laguji, Chogi Cheese, Curds-Cheese, Chechily, Tenily, Skibu and many others? Let’s dive into the secrets of Georgian cheese
history, which is rather rich for a small country like Georgia, and discover the gastronomic secrets, which still remain secrets for many locals.
Until 2012, the popularization of Georgian cheese was under the supervision of Georgian National Tourism Administration, which handed the responsibility to the Ministry of Agriculture. The former focused on the development of cheese tours in the frame of gastronomic tourism and agro tourism. “Within the project, we organized the research of cheese enterprises and family farmers who have produced Georgian sorts of cheese and as an innovation, they started to produce European sorts of cheese with Georgian interpretations. They produce biologically clean products and are located in tourism-relevant environment,” Medea Janiashvili, Head of Destination Development Department of Georgian National Tourism Administration commented.
The historic memory and ethnography have preserved information about the diversity and originality of Georgian milk and dairy products. Undoubtedly, Georgia is one of the cradles of wine. However, a couple of years ago, it was proved at the Sighnaghi festival that it is the homeland of cheese as well, which was also confirmed by foreign guests. The best proof of it is the clay milk-related utensils preserved at the Mtskheta Archeological Museum, which date back to the 7th century B.C. There are some churning devices as well as different kinds of pots that were used for making cheese.
There are many other proofs in Georgian folklore: the protagonist of a well-known Georgian fairy-tale “Natsarkekia” cheats a huge Devi (Georgian prototype of ogre), pretending that he is so strong , he can squeeze water out of a stone, which actually, is a juicy piece of cheese. Peculiar semantics are connected with cheese. In the country where cheese is eaten three or even four times a day – i.e. at every meal, a lot of things are connected with cheese. We have such expressions as “sakvelpuro”, which stands for “something for cheese and bread” and it implies something for everyday life, as well as “kveli da puri da ketili guli” – “cheese and bread and kind heart”, meaning that there were times in Georgian history, when people did not have anything else to eat, but they still had joy of life and kindness, hospitality for guests, etc. There was also an ancient tradition, which could be quite attractive for the modern marketers as well: “Khanuloba” was the farming tradition, which cared about the welfare of the village. Together with coming wintertime, entire village community would start to collect some milk that was enough for one particular family for making all dairy products and eat them until Spring. All families would receive this quantity in their turn and according to their needs. Such was the tradition that would survive the harsh winter.
If a great country like France can boast of a great variety of cheese, we, Georgians, also seem to have cheese of different sorts – made of cow, goat, sheep and buffalo milk. Curds Cheese is cheese with mould. We have smoked cheese, pickle-stuffed cheese, baby cheese with garlic and dry spices, cheese covered with grapes, goat cheese with grape leaf marinade, cheese in olive oil with carrot shavings and spices, twisted cheese with ham, twisted cheese with sour cheese, twisted cheese with verdure, green solid cheese with mint, twisted smoked cheese with different contents, as well as cheese in dry fruit marinade, cheese with pepper and garlic, cheese roll with sour, dried fruit plate, dry honey cheese, etc. Taste them and you will not regret it!
Ana Mikadze, Head of the project “Georgian Cheese” (Kartuli Kveli), financed by Georgian National Tourism Administration, is a philologist who has recently devoted herself to ethnography, namely research of Georgian cheese. Ana Mikadze confesses that by launching the project, they have touched the very pride of consumers. “We have this ‘cultural pearl’ in abundance. The amplitude of species has encouraged even more supporters. We had four festivals within the two years. There are almost 40 types of cheese between Imeruli and Sulguni. Such festivals enhance the links between producers and firms. Our enterprise is constantly receiving foreign visitors. Once, we hosted a very serious group from a Baltic country, which has 180 tons of milk per day. By the way, they mentioned that this is the future of the world cheese as they are sick and tired of cheese with emulators. The privilege of our cheese is taste, quality and naturalism. Our cheeses can live for around two years in their natural environment. Such cheese are expensive everywhere. Some of them are for sale in Goodwill and around 40 of them in Cheese Corner shop, including cheese of cow, buffalo, goat and sheep. We don’t offer shops, they give us orders themselves,” Ana Mikadze said.
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