Georgian cheese boat Adjaruli Khachapuri - New York Essential Dish
27 April, 2018
Now everyone knows Khachapuri, popular cheese bread from Georgia, that has become a must dish in New York city. The molten cheese bread has been written about breathlessly since at least 2011 and this time the New York Eater decided to once again remind the world about  Georgian culinary masterpiece with its article.

“The dish has moved beyond traditional Georgian restaurants and onto bar and brunch menus of various cuisines, mutated into very unorthodox riffs. One restaurant is even entirely
devoted to the dish”, says the website of New York Eater.
According to the article, the rise in khachapuri’s popularity can be partly traced to Instagram and indeed one can find thousands of hashtags with a number of khachapuri photos in various forms, with bacon, herbs and plenty of other stuff. Yet the basic ingredients remain the same, Adjaruli khachapuri is composed of bread shaped like a boat, filled with a pool of melted cheese in which to dip the torn-off crust, and comes with an egg yolk and a hefty pat of butter that’s mixed in tableside.
According to Georgian food expert Darra Goldstein, author of The Georgian Feast, it’s difficult to trace an exact timeline, that khachapuri likely dates back to at least the 12th century, when Georgia went through a renaissance. She connects the origin of the bread to India, as the second half of the word — “puri” — is the same as the Indian word for bread, while “khacha” in Georgian means cheese curds.

Check out khacahpuri (cheeseboat) recipe

It is symbolic that Adjaruli Khachapuri that originated in Georgia’s seaside region of Adjara, symbolizes a boat while the egg yolk the sunset over the sea. So it truly deserves its second name cheeseboat, how it is coined by the foreigners.

“While the pizza-like bread has become so endemic to Georgia that the cost of making it is now used as a measure of the health of the country’s economy, it’s only in the 21st century that khachapuri has been getting its due on a more global scale. Instagram has helped by highlighting the dish’s more photogenic qualities, but other factors are at play here, too,” The Eater reports.
Khachapuri with ham. Photo credit harriboo instagram

As the NY based food magazine says, Khachapuri had a global moment during the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, where 175,000 breads were sold at restaurants around the Russian city. NYC also has the largest Georgian population outside of Asia and Europe, counting 5,000 registered immigrants (though the Georgian consulate estimates closer to 50,000 live here), and those immigrants have now raised a generation brought up on American culture and able to translate Georgian traditions in a broader way”,

Netty Davitashvili from Georgia, who owns Cheeseboat restaurant in Williamsburg — a name that describes the look of the dish but has drawn ire from some Georgians — thought khachapuri was the perfect food to promote the culture of her native Georgia.
Khacahpuri cheeseboat with herbs. Photo credit: newyorkermag instagram

She founded hipster style Georgian restaurant where the dish is served with various supplements like bacon, meatballs, mac and cheese, and other combinations using traditionally American ingredients.

“Each region in Georgia has its own very distinctive style so the fact that American restaurants are riffing on it I think is really great and sort of in keeping with what Georgians do,” Goldstein says. “I don’t see that as heretical,” owner of the restaurant says.
Georgian cheese boat served in New York

Barbounia, a Mediterranean restaurant in Gramercy, is yet another place that serves this national dish in an unusual way.the restaurant takes this innovation even further, serving an entire khachapuri menu at brunch with options like a take on a croque monsieur with Gruyere cheese, ham, mozzarella, and fried egg. It’s now the most popular item on the menu, chef Amitzur Mor says, with 70 to 80 khachapuris selling every brunch.

“It’s such an awesome dish, but we didn’t want to do it traditionally. I cook Israeli cuisine, which is a mishmash and fusion of everything, anyway,” Mor says. “Israel is like America in that everything we do in Israel is a mix of different cultures and cuisines. It’s with the spirit of the restaurant because we do a lot of fresh-baked breads, and this was just another part of the evolution of our flatbreads.”
Traditional khacahpuri with cheese, butter and egg

Likewise, at Narcbar, Fraser’s version recategorizes the dish as ideal drinking food for a completely inauthentic take that uses fresh cheese, sheep’s milk feta, and mozzarella in place of the traditionally used imeruli and sulguni cheeses. Fraser began playing around with the food after eating it years ago and thinking it was perfect drinking fare.

The result of all these newer takes is that khachapuri has never been more prominent in New York. Plenty of restaurants have long been serving it in its traditional form, like Georgian Dream in Bay Ridge, which Eater critic Robert Sietsema considers the city’s best version. Some might say that the newer versions are a form of appropriation, but Georgian Dream owner Besik Petriashvili says he doesn’t fault people who don’t stick to tradition. Georgian consulate worker Giorgi Koguashvili agrees, saying it only helps promote Georgian cuisine as a whole.

“If you package anything right, you can sell it,” Davitashvili says. “I knew exactly who I was targeting — which was my friends — and it worked.”

Source: Eater New York

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