How to Eat Like a Georgian - Exploring The Supra Feast
12 October, 2015
How to Eat Like a Georgian - Exploring The Supra Feast
Every nation has its own traditions and rituals they are famous for. Georgians stand out for their hospitality, delicious cuisine and, of course, supra (a Georgian feast table) together with its toastmaster called tamada.

If you want to learn more about Georgian supra and its inseparable traditions, then check out this article prepared by

"To call a supra a ‘party’, as many Georgians do when speaking English, is a gross mistranslation. To call it a feast, on the other
hand, conjures images of kings raising goblets in great halls and archaic images like scenes from films. Besides the kings, though, ‘feast’ is actually a better translation for this type of event, which is a true backbone of Georgian social culture.
Though the specifics vary depending on the host and the company present, many elements of a supra are always the same. The traditional leader of the supra is the Tamada, or toastmaster, who leads the toasts. This person is as vital to the supra as the supra is to Georgian culture, because supras revolve entirely around toasts, which can stretch out to several minutes in length. The Tamada always opens with a toast to Sakartvelo (Georgia, in Georgian) and then one to God, and then generally one to the most honored people in the room, the guests.

Georgian hospitality is the stuff of legend, and the long and flowing toast to the guests’ presence and what they bring to the table (both literally and figuratively) is evidence of it. New courses of food always arrive to the guests first, and other toasts will make reference to them and what they represent. An American, for example, will always hear a toast to the friendship between Georgia and America, although this is of course not mandated by the unwritten, but strictly followed, rules governing supras.

Unsurprisingly, these rules also dictate drinking habits. The Tamada is expected to empty his glass with each toast, and the more traditionally motivated guests will do the same. Guests have more leeway, although they’ll be lauded if they can keep up. And no matter which route they have chosen, it’s absolutely imperative that they do not drink from a glass less than half full. For those drinking slowly, this just means frequent top-ups. For those drinking a full cup with each toast, this means a drinking a significant amount during the meal.

Sometimes, the wine will not come out of glasses. It’s typically Georgian to drink out of horns, either real rams’ horns or porcelain replicas. These ceremonial objects will come down from hearths to grace the supra table, often being passed around from one person at the table to the next.
The carafes of wine often seem bottomless, as the supra’s hosts are always refilling them. If they make their own wine, as is likely in many areas of Georgia, then they’re simply drawing it out of storage jugs deep in their pantries or cellars. Wine is another element of their culture that Georgians are immensely proud of, and families relish the opportunity to share what they’ve produced. A supra, of course, is the perfect opportunity. The choices narrow as winter turns to spring and summer and the last harvest recedes into the past, but at a supra there is never any danger of running out.

To the untrained eye, the food probably seems to come from the same never-ending source as the wine. It starts with tones puri, the boat-shaped Georgian flatbread that bakes in ovens that seem like holes dug into the ground, and the tones puri never completely leaves the table. The first rounds usually include numerous spreads and salads (often more mayonnaise than vegetable) that the guests are encouraged to eat. But be warned not to eat until you’re full, as this is only the beginning. In truth, any guest at any Georgian meal should be warned of this danger; because of the culture of hospitality, the guest could possibly not turn down food enough to convince the host to stop offering it.
At some point, a real national favorite will appear on the table in all of its greasy, steaming glory: khachapuri, or cheese bread. It comes in various forms depending on the region—Imeretian, which is circular fried bread filled with cheese; Mingrelian, which is like the Imeretian variety but with cheese on top; or Adjarian, which is boat-shaped and has an egg and a pat of butter that gets mixed into the cheese. A single piece of khachapuri could in many cases be a meal in itself—but not at a supra.

Another important course is the meat, which usually comes in the form of shasliki, or chunks of pork that have been roasted over the dying embers of a fire. Guests fortunate enough to be at a supra in the countryside will often be treated to fresh meat, straight from the garden. In Georgia, having animals in the yard is not a privilege reserved only for those with lots of land. A chicken coop, after all, only takes up a small corner.

Besides the main events, though, the food will continue in courses until plates are stacked on top of each other all over the table. The hosts will take care, however, to replace the guests’ plates, so that when the numerous cakes come out for dessert, no one has to deal with any unsavory mixing. There will also always be choices—one cake simply wouldn’t be enough for the grandeur that is a supra, although by the time they come out, few people actually have the desire (or ability) to eat them.

If it’s a proper supra, the attendees will leave tipsy and full, in both body and spirit. They will feel camaraderie with the other people around the table, a connection after all the toasts, wine, songs, food, and conversation. New relationships will have been forged, new memories created. And if it’s a big occasion, they better be ready for another one the next day", reads the article by Lani Seelinger.


Related story:

The grand know-how of Georgian supra

Other Stories
Georgian Cuisine Festival held in Hamburg, Germany
Khinkali, Mtsvadi and Khachapuri are the most famous words about the Georgian cuisine.
TasteAtlas about Georgian dishes – Part 5
The website TasteAtlas which provides tourists and people interested in traditional cuisine with a wide range of dishes from different parts of the world.
TasteAtlas about Georgian dishes – Part 4
Georgia includes regions of the different climate, which produce many different fruits or food.
Traditional dishes from the Mountainous Regions of Georgia
The mountainous regions of Georgia preserve the oldest recipes for their traditional dishes.
TasteAtlas about Georgian dishes – Part 3
The website TasteAtlas which provides tourists and people interested in traditional cuisine with a wide range of dishes from different parts of the world.
TasteAtlas about Georgian dishes – Part 2
The website TasteAtlas which provides tourists and people interested in traditional cuisine with a wide range of dishes from different parts of the world.
TasteAtlas about Georgian dishes – Part 1
Georgia offers a whole range of local dishes. Georgian cuisine has been shaped by different cultures
Bozbashi – famous Georgian meal
Bozbashi is a Georgian hot meal. Each region of Georgia has its own way of cooking Bozbashi.
How to prepare a delicious bun with mayonnaise
There are many ways of cooking buns all over the world. Some of the Georgians knead dough with mayonnaise without oil or margarine.
How to prepare calf ribs in pineapple sauce
Sometimes, by using a combination of bitter and sweet ingredients one may get a delicious dish. Today we explore how to prepare calf ribs with spices and pineapple sauce.
Meskheti filled Pastry
Meskheti is the south-west region of Georgia. Meskheti people cook delicious pastry.
Discover the Kakhetian Cuisine
Autumn is just around the corner and thus the time of harvest is getting closer, especially of grapes.
Georgian cuisine by The Dish – Part 3
Here are a number of other Georgian foods that the presenters of the podcast The Dish recommend you to taste in Georgia:
Georgian cuisine by “The Dish” – Part 2
The podcast The Dish tell the listeners about the history of Georgian cuisine and the meals everyone should taste in Georgia. The Georgians have been ruled by Greeks, Romans, Iranians, Arabs, Byzantians, Mongolians, Ottomans, and Russians.
Georgian cuisine by “The Dish” – Part 1
The podcast “The Dish” talks about Georgian dishes as well as the history of the country. Georgian cuisine has been shaped by different cultures such as ancient Greek and Roman, middle eastern Turkish,central Asian, Mongolian, Russian and Indian influences.
Humus with white beans and ginger
Beans is very popular in Georgia. one of the main dishes in Georgia, especially in the western part of the country is Lobio or beans.
The Independent names Georgian wine among the best eastern European wines
Georgia is becoming more and more famous for its wine. Recently, The Independent published an article about Eastern European wines.
Delicious Veggie Pasta
The Café Piatto offers its guest delicious dishes. Here is the veggie pasta recipe cooked by the chef at the café. The dish is popular amonst vegetarians.
Fried beef liver in pomegranate juice
Locals in the Samegrelo region (in the west part of Georgia) cook beef liver in pomegranate juice.
Georgian Chvishtari with Ajika
Chvishtari is a Georgian cornbread with cheese. It originates from Svaneti, the mountainous region of Georgia.
Chicken liver with ajika and satureja
Megrelian cuisine (from Samegrelo, in the western part of Georgia) is distinguished by its spicy meals.
Kupati in Saperavi wine
Each region in Georgia has its special cuisine. Kupati is a dish common in the western part of Georgia, Samegrelo.
Pkhali of New Cabbage
Pkhali is a traditional Georgian dish of chopped and minced vegetables, made of cabbage, eggplant, spinach, beans, beets and combined with ground walnuts, vinegar, onions, garlic, and herbs. In this article the receipt of Cabbage Pkhali is suggested.
Detailed recipe how to cook the Adjarian khachapuri
Khachapuri is a popular Georgian dish made of cheese and dough. Adjarians have their own way of cooking Khachapuri.
Fish in walnut sauce (Satsivi)
Satsivi is a food paste in Georgian cuisine made primarily from walnuts and is used in various recipes.
Exchange Rates
GEL Exchange Rate
Red Semi-Sweet
Schuchmann Wines  / 2015
Zangaura  / 2015
White Dry
None  / 2016
Other Stories
Now everyone knows Khachapuri, popular cheese bread from Georgia, that has become a must dish in New York city.
There are several symbols that have become a part of Orthodox Easter celebration. Eggs dyed in red, frequently served on the wheat planted at home
Symbols of Easter and life itself, red eggs are one of the main attributes of the Easter table. They are dyed on Good Friday, the color representing
Georgian food and trademarks such as khachapuri, cheese bread, khinkali, meat dumplings, nigvziani badrijani, eggplant rolls with walnut
Extremely delicious cheese bread Adjaruli Khachapuri from Georgia’s mountainous Adjara Region
Anthony Bourdain is well-known in the US for his Emmy-winning travel show “Parts Unknown,” on CNN. One of the last episodes was dedicated to Georgia.
Popular Georgian cheese bread Adrajuli khachapuri has been spotlighted by world-famous website Culture Trip.
Combining wine and cheese is an unquenchable subject and it is being discussed by many gourmets and experts around the world.
Adjarian dishes are an integral part of Georgian cuisine and its culture.
All regions of Georgia stand out for their local delicious dishes and they make up the entire Georgian cuisine