Part 1 of who knows how many posts about our Easter trip to Georgia, the former Soviet republic.
First, the food! Did you see this excellent article in the New Yorker? Georgian cuisine is having a well-deserved moment.
Southerners, take note. My first meal in The Other Georgia included . . .
HUSHPUPPIES! aka Elargi balls, stuffed with a bit of cheese.
I admit, I never had a hushpuppy in the South served with walnut and chile sauce, but it’s delicious!
And the cornmeal didn’t stop there.
We also had, well, a bowl of grits!
Homemade, in a private apartment, where we joined a family for prepping dinner and then digging in (if you find yourself in Tbilisi, you must meet Mari and Levan!) This experience was just the best. Mari had to leave for an out-of-town tour, so we were hosted by Levan and Mari’s mother at Mari’s parents’ house. There is nothing like seeing where and how people really live, talking history, politics, and travel. Not to mention helping with the chopping, learning about the food and recipes, and then sitting down to a feast.
This grits dish (ghomi) is served with a big slab of the Georgian cheese known as Sulguni.
Levan noted that this is a pretty bland dish, so he slathers his with walnut sauce (NB: walnut sauce, aka, baje, features prominently here and elsewhere!).
We also had chashushuli, beef with homemade tomato sauce; adjapsandali, eggplant, red pepper, potato, onions, and coriander in tomato sauce; shkmeruli, chicken with garlic sauce; nadughi, one of my favorites, as it is a thin skin of cheese stuffed with more cheese (these people know how to live!) and mint; and kitri-pomiduris salata, tomato and cucumber salad. Washed down with Levan’s first vintage of his own wine and some very fine chacha (a homemade fruity vodka).
I feel full all over again, just writing this.
Our bounteous table below.
More on Georgia to come.