Georgian cuisine is arguably one of the best experiences in Georgia, with extremely diverse dishes using a wide variety of herbs, spices, and techniques to make distinctive and flavorful dishes that will surely leave a lasting impression.
Georgia’s most famous dish is called ხაჭაპური khachapuri, which comes from the words ხაჭო khacho “curd” and პური puri “bread.” Khachapuri is a stuffed cheese bread that comes in numerous regional variations. The cheese used is either იმერული Imeruli, which is cheese that comes from Imereti, or სულგუნი sulguni. Both cheeses are a type of aged curd goat cheese with a taste similar that of mozzarella. The breads used and the style in which the bread is folded is generally region-specific.
აჭარული ხაჭაპური Acharuli Khachapuri
Acharuli khachapuri is the most well-known and advertised regional variant of khachapuri. This variant of khachapuri comes from Adjara. The bread is formed into a gondola shape, and the cheese is placed in the middle. After the cheese bread comes out of the oven, a raw egg and pad of butter are placed on top. Generally, the molten cheese, egg, and butter are mixed together before enjoying!
იმერული ხაჭაპური Imeruli Khachapuri
Imeruli khachapuri comes from Imereti and is the second most well-known variant of khachapuri. In this variant, the dough is similar to a thinner version of pita bread. The cheese is placed in the middle with the bread folded over it and rolled out, so the cheese is fully enclosed within the bread. Larger versions are then cut into smaller pieces, while smaller versions are generally served whole.
გურული ხაჭაპური Guruli Khachapuri
Guruli khachapuri comes from Guria. Similar to Imeruli khachapuri, Guruli khachapuri has the cheese fully enclosed within the bread, usually in a crescent shape. This variant is known for having hard-boiled eggs inside, in addition to cheese.
მეგრული ხაჭაპური Megruli Khachapuri
Megruli khachapuri comes from Samegrelo and is essentially a cheese pizza without the tomato sauce. The dough is similar to Imeruli khachapuri, but there is no cheese within the bread.
რაჭული ხაჭაპური Rachuli Khachapuri
Rachuli khachapuri, also known as ხაჭაპური ლორით khachapuri lorit “khachapuri with ham” comes from Racha. Rachuli khachapuri’s bread is generally flakey, similar to a croissant, is in a square shape with each corner folded to the center, and has large slices of ham in the cheese. Often, Rachuli khachapuri and penovani khachapuri are very similar in appearance.
ფენოვანი ხაჭაპური Penovani Khachapuri
Penovani Khachapuri is not a regional variant. Penovani describes the type of bread used, which is extremely flakey, and this variant of khachapuri is distinctively square-shaped. Often, penovani khachapuri and Rachuli khachapuri are very similar in appearance.
ლობიანი lobiani is a type of stuffed bean bread that comes from the word ლობიო lobio “beans” and -იანი -iani (a suffix that carries the same meaning as adding a -y to a word in English, such a cloud-> cloudy, salt -> salty). Lobiani generally comes in three forms, იმერული ლობიანი Imeruli lobiani, რაჭული ლობიანი/ლობიანი ლორით Rachuli lobaini/lobiani lorit, and ფენოვანი ლობიანი penovani lobiani. Imeruli lobiani corresponds to its khachapuri equivalent, whereas Rachuli lobiani/lobiani lorit and penovani lobiani are not generally square in shape, usually taking the form of a rectangle, and are generally completely enclosed with bread.
There is one other family of stuffed bread in Georgian cuisine, ღვეძელი ghvedzeli. Ghvedzeli breads are generally translated as “pies.” For example, a კარტოფილის ღვეძელი kartopilis ghvedzeli is a mashed potato (and usually some type of herb/spice) stuffed bread, usually using dough similar to Imeruli khachapuri/lobiani. There are also ghvedzeli variations with different types of meat, and most places have both a fried and non-fried version of their ghvedzeli stuffed breads. Ghvedzeli breads are also generally ovular.
შოთი Shoti is a boat-shaped bread that is baked in a kiln. Shoti generally has a slightly salty flavor and is eaten plain, with cheese, or with jam spread over it. Shoti can also come stuffed with cheese (shoti khachapuri) or beans (shoti lobiani).
Georgian dishes are usually fairly heavy since they use hearty herbs and spices in very liberal amounts. The staples of Georgian cuisine are walnuts, peaches, cherries, onions, eggplants, potatoes, tomatoes, tarragon, and most meats. Below is a description of some of Georgia’s most well-known dishes.
ნიგვზიანი ბადრიჯანი Nigvziani badrijani
Georgian fried eggplant rolls stuffed with a walnut paste (similar to hummus). Served cold.
Georgian dumplings, generally stuffed with meat, but sometimes with mashed potatoes and cheese.
Smokey Georgian kebabs, usually pork unless specified otherwise, that are served with onions.
A savory eggplant based soup with tomatoes, onions, and peppers.
A light and aromatic lemony soup with chicken.
A rich and savory chicken stew that combines tomatoes, onions, chili peppers, and other
spices into an explosion of flavors.
A walnut sauce that is used with meats, not unlike the consistency of curry.
A dessert of nuts (walnuts or hazelnuts) covered in candied wine or honey.
A sweet, flaky pastry filled with a sugary-paste filling.
These are large, generally hard cookies that have a sweet flavor, similar to a cross between a sugar cookie and sour cream cookie
A cross between a tart and a pie, with a cake-like base and, generally, apples in it, all topped with a dusting of powdered sugar.
A sweet, fluffy, dessert roll covered in a thick layer of crunchy, flavorful sugar.