How to survive a Georgian feast – BBC
06 May, 2016
How to survive a Georgian feast – BBC
BBC once again visited Georgia and took the opportunity to join our traditional supra - Georgian feast. Here are the impressions form the journey:

“Do you want to try Stalin's favourite wine?” asked my Georgian friend Nino.

After a three-day hiking trip in Georgia’s stunning northwestern region of Racha, my two travelling companions and I were excited by the bizarre offer. Produced since the beginning of the 20th Century, the grapes for the semi-sweet red wine called khvanchkara – reportedly
Stalin's wine of choice – are only grown in one very small area of the Racha region, also called Khvanchkara.

Upon our arrival at the Aleksandrouli winery, Nino’s friend Dato led us on a brief tour of its stainless steel fermentation vats, the modern counterpart to the nation's still-used ancient tradition of underground fermentation in kvevris (large clay vessels). We ambled about the warehouse, admiring the sexy, Italian-designed bottles of khvanchkara, and tried the wine, which tasted a bit like raspberry syrup. Dato stood smoking a cigarette, looking out at the low vine-covered hills behind us.
“Follow me,” Dato said suddenly. “I would like to invite you to eat with us.”
geotv.ge
I had only heard stories about the famous Georgian supra, the traditional feast offered spontaneously to only the luckiest of visitors. I’d been told that the incredibly generous villagers ply guests with local dishes and endless pours of strong, homemade wine, accompanied by countless long, nostalgic and heartfelt toasts. I couldn’t believe that we might get the chance to attend.

As we drove to a nearby small restaurant, Dato called ahead to let them know we were coming. My stomach growled and we all grinned widely at each other in giddy anticipation.

It was 3 pm when we arrived. Dato’s friend, Mamuka, was waiting in the parking lot, and there were no other customers in the dim restaurant space. A woman with a bored expression smoked and sat behind the cashier's desk, and a man leaned on the counter, his back to us.

Plates, silverware and glasses had already been set for six in the small private dining room. The centre of the table held two plates piled with pizza-sized triangles of golden, flaky khachapuri (traditional stuffed breads), some filled with ground beef, some with soft imeruli, a fresh cow's cheese from the adjacent Imereti region. There were bowls of chunky tomato-cucumber salad with fresh parsley, plates piled with thick slabs of additional imeruli and platters of glistening fried potatoes.
We took our seats slowly, eyes glued to the food. Dato sat at the head of the table. A short-haired, stoic-faced waitress walked in briskly and set down two giant pitchers of mustard-coloured tetra, a homemade, semi-sweet white wine made from the tsulukudze tetra grape, which only grows in the Racha region. This was the fuel for our supra fire.

geotv.ge
Wine was poured generously as Dato embarked upon his first toast. With Nino translating, he told us how happy he was to celebrate and drink with us. “We don't sit here and eat this much food and drink this much wine for no reason – we share it with you, our guests, to know each other better. So let us drink to tradition.”

Nodding in giddy agreement and straining our arms to clink our sweating glasses with every person at the table, we took our first drink of the refreshingly bitter tetra wine (we sipped, our hosts chugged the entire glass). As soon as we saw Dato and Mamuka begin to eat, we quickly attacked the food. Amid the sounds of chewing and gulping, the waitress returned again and again, carrying platters of grilled sturgeon garnished with silky stalks of dill; small ceramic bowls of narsharab (a deep-red pomegranate sauce); and two more bowls filled to the brim with khashlama, a clear stew of boiled lamb, cabbage, tomato and onion. To my left, a cast iron skillet appeared, packed with juicy mushrooms grilled in a ketsi (clay oven).

Khashlama

geotv.ge

Grilled mushrooms in a ketsi

geotv.ge
Near the head of the table, a white plate was stacked with mtsvadi (shashlik), long, metal skewers loaded with fat chunks of barbequed pork. We each grabbed a skewer, not waiting for our hosts this time, and slid the meat onto our plates to devour.

There was also a glass bottle of tarhun, a popular carbonated drink named after its tarragon flavour. As we poured the fizzy, neon-green liquid, a strong but sweet, herbal scent hit our noses.

“Eat! Eat! Drink! Drink!” Dato pushed us with his raised glass. But nearly every time I tried to sip my wine, he or Mamuka plunged into another speech.
geotv.ge

Khachapuri
geotv.ge
One long toast discussed how the Greek myth of Jason and the Golden Fleece actually took place in Georgia. Another turned into a recital of a famous Georgian poem, which Nino said she had no idea how to translate. Yet another was a toast to women.

Then came a toast announced as mandatory, a tribute to the past, to those who were no longer with us. But since it’s forbidden for this particular toast to be the last toast of the evening, Dato and Mamuka ventured on, wishing us much happiness in our travels and success in our lives.

By toast number eight or nine, things seemed as though they would never end. Our host and Mamuka had laughed so hard that their faces had turned red. We could only make laughing sounds from our throats as our mouths were constantly full of food. We'd been feasting for at least three hours by then — anything less could not be called a feast.

Finally, I leaned over to tap Nino on the shoulder. “We have to leave. It will be too late.”

Our sense of immense gratitude to Dato and Mamuka conflicted with our desire to get back on the road, a desire very much dimmed by heavy stomachs, strong wine and palates still tingling with a taste of pomegranate sauce.

We watched Nino gracefully negotiate our departure with big smiles and laughter. But group photos still had to be taken, so we shuffled ourselves into position, smiling sleepily into a few different cameras.

In the parking lot, we shook hands and hugged heartily in place of words, stumbling over madloba, the Georgian word for thank you.

Nino translated our promises to return again, and we all laughed at the possibility. I’d be lucky to be a part of another supra – that is, of course, if I was ever hungry again.

For more information follow the link


Related Stories:

How to Eat Like a Georgian - Exploring The Supra Feast


The grand know-how of Georgian supra


Europe's fierce, fabled villages - BBC's unforgettable journey to Svaneti
Print
Other Stories
Khachapuri featured on Youtube by Chef John
Khachapuri, a signature of Georgian cuisine has been featured on Youtube through the channel Food Wishes.
The Revival of Traditional Georgian Cheese-making
Saveur has devoted an article to the lesser-known types of Georgian cheese.
Georgian chef and embassy counselor at Fox 5 morning show
Georgian chef and Counselor of the Georgian embassy in Washington DC were invited to take part in the morning show at American TV Fox 5.
Top 5 local cheese types to taste in Georgia
Georgia is among the best cheese manufacturing countries.
The World Talks about Georgian Shoti Bread
Georgian cuisine is well-known across the world.
Khachapuri named Dish of the Year by af&co
af&co, a leading restaurant, and hospitality consulting firm has recently published this year’s trends report.
Boiled Khachapuri type to try in Georgia
You have probably heard of the Georgian signature dish Khachapuri.
Georgian restaurants in Kiev, Ukraine winning the hearts of their guests
Kyiv Post, Ukraine’s oldest English language newspaper has recently published an article about Georgian restaurants in Kiev.
5 Georgian dishes to warm up winters
Georgia offers a variety of hot and cold dishes.
5 Lesser-known Georgian dishes to taste
Georgian dishes such as Khinkali, Khachapuri, Churchkhela or Elarji are well-known to people abroad.
Khachapuri among 100 best-rated dishes on TasteAtlas
Georgian traditional dish Khachapuri is one of the best-rated dishes on TasteAtlas.
The Guardian: Khinkali best eaten with alcohol
The Guardian published an article about the traditional Georgian dish Khinkali in 2017.
Georgian Khachapuri Granted Cultural Heritage Status
The traditional method of making khachapuri has been granted the status of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Georgia.
Top 10 Must -Try Georgian Dishes
Georgians were ruled by Greeks, Romans, Iranians, Arabs, Byzantians, Mongolians, Ottomans, and Russians over the years.
Georgian wine and how to look after vineyards
It requires lots of attention and knowledge to take care of vineyard.
How to prepare Gozinaki
Only a few hours left until New Year arrives. New Year's dinner is unimaginable without Gozinaki in Georgia.
6 dishes to make New Year dinner distinguished
New Year is coming and everyone is preparing for festivities.
Collection of alcohol drinks of one Georgian, worth of thousands of dollars
Alcoholic drinks collector and former head of the Georgian National Film Center Ferdinand Lortkipanidze has a very unique collection at home.
Traditional fasting dishes from Georgia ideally suited for vegans
The Georgian cuisine has a lot to offer, not only for meat lovers, but for vegetarians and even vegans likewise.
The rarest Georgian vine varieties
There are around 500 vine varieties in Georgia and wine making has been part of the Georgian culture for centuries.
Georgian winemaker who chases for indigenous Georgian vines
Georgia is a cradle of wine and today mostly everybody knows about that.
Georgia starts to produce Ice Wine
Ice wine is very popular and common in Europe. As Germans say Ice wine is a classic wine to drink in winter.
What type of wine is the most common in Georgia
Georgia is known as a cradle of wine. There are around 530 vine species in Georgia,
Georgian desserts to taste in winter
Georgia offers a whole range of local dishes.
TasteAtlas about Georgian dishes – Part 6
The website TasteAtlas which provides tourists and people interested in traditional cuisine with a wide range of dishes from different parts of the world.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
GEL Exchange Rate
Convertor
19.04.2019
20.04.2019
USD
1
USD
2.6939
2.6939
EUR
1
EUR
3.0323
3.0323
GBP
1
GBP
3.5053
3.5053
RUB
100
RUB
4.2087
4.2087
750ml
White Dry
None  / 2016
18.30
750ml
Red Semi-Sweet
Schuchmann Wines  / 2015
26.95
750ml
Kvevri
Zangaura  / 2015
19.90
Other Stories
Now everyone knows Khachapuri, popular cheese bread from Georgia, that has become a must dish in New York city.
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.
World famous American food channel Food Network published a video recipe of a popular Georgian cheese bread Adjaruli Khachapuri.
Georgian cuisine, known for its hearty dishes and unique spicy flavors, has gone beyond Georgia's borders and captivated the hearts of many food enthusiasts around the world.
Georgian boat-shaped cheese bread named Adjaruli Khachapuri is not only Georgians’ beloved dish but now has already become a favorite dish of many people internationally.