Georgian traditional cuisine is one of the richest and diverse cuisines worldwide. For many years Georgia has not only maintained its dishes, but also introduced the on foreign markets.
As a result, Georgia was mentioned in the top list the most delicious European cuisines developed by the US edition the Thrillist.
In the rating Georgia ranked fourth after Italy, France and Spain among 48 European countries and surpassed gastronomic achievements of such countries as Germany, Belgium, Croatia, Switzerland, Portugal, Hungary and Greece. The edition named Khachapuri as a key forward of Georgian national cuisine.
The Marketer.ge has also written that Georgian dishes are one of the key motivators for many tourists to visit Georgia.
Georgia’s gastronomy is a special one among other cuisines of the world, chef Levan Kobiashvili said. Acquaintance with its components, uniqueness raises interest in representatives of various countries. It is necessary that distinct chefs and government and private sectors activate efforts for the field development, he added.
«Georgian gastronomy is worthy to be recognized worldwide, because we genuinely have unique cuisine and not many countries have such treasure. All chains are important and interesting in this field», chef Levan Kobiashvili said.
Giorgi Saradjishvili pointed out that Ajika, unique Georgian sauce is made in Georgia from seasonings that grow only in our country, for example, yellow flower.
Giorgi Saradjishvili, Chef:
«Many other dishes and sauces have the same potential to be recognized abroad. For example: tomato sauce, Kebab sauce, blackberry Tkemali, raspberry Tkemali, which are innovative products. Moreover, we have peach Adjika, apricot Adjika and this process tends to move to fusion, based on traditional dishes. From my experience, pumpkin and almond sauce is also very interesting for foreign consumers. I would also mention pastry – Adjarian Khachapuri, Khabidzgina, Pkhlovana, Svanetian Khachapuri. As to dinners, I would name Kalia, which is an ancient dish. Moreover, Chakapuli, Kharcho, Elarji would be interesting for foreign consumers, as well as Pheasant Chakapuli, which was cooked with pomegranate juice in the period of King Vakhtang Gorgasali.
Chef Giorgi Iosava, founder of Baia Salobie:
«In Salobie Baia, we make accent on Georgian vegetarian direction. Over the past period, 90% of clients are tourists from Germany, the USA, Poland and so on. Russian visitors do not like, because they prefer Khinkali an Kebab, but European and American clients are shocked. This is a certain trend, a half part of the world has become vegetarian and in this respect Georgian cuisine has much potential. For example, Khachapuri has much potential, as well as the whole Georgian vegetarian cuisine – beans, Pkhalueoba (edible greens) and so on. We have a rich country in this respect. We have not fully explored all potential of our treasure and we should gradually disclose this treasure from old books.
The Caucasus Business Week has interviewed several chefs about the following questions: which dishes have potential to emphasize Georgia’s peculiarity worldwide?
Guram Baghdoshvili, owner of Anona Restaurante, chef-advisor:
« Khachapuri and Khinkali are the most popular dishes that may be appraised as Georgia’s brand products. Chanakhi, Chakapuli and vine Tola should be also mentioned. In Georgia of the 21st century, we have the tendency of revival of ancient Georgian dishes and I welcome this process. We need educated chefs to promote this process and we have serious challenges in this respect. This direction was actualized several years ago, but serious chefs, masters are not invited, who would hold master-classes and develop this direction. Key accent is made on tourism and we have low level of services. Investments should be made in sommeliers, barmen, chefs. For example, I have ancient dishes in our menu such as Ospi, Chakapuli Resoto, which is a new dish», Baghdoshvili said.
Inga Tsulaia, chef for Ambassador Tbilisi hotel:
«Georgia has huge potential for developing gastronomic tourism. Our traditional dishes are very popular in post-Soviet space, but it is very important that the interest in our gastronomy grows day to day in Europe and USA. Explosive articles by foreign media about Georgian food such as the Washington Post, New York Times and so on prove this consideration.
At restaurants of our hotel tourists are mostly interested in Ghomi, seasonal Pkhali, especially Mchadi and natural Georgian cheese. Ambassador Hotel permanently takes efforts to attract foreign tourists through various combination of Georgian traditional products. Consequently, we have replenished our menu by such innovative products as fried curds with mint, which has become a brand product for our restaurants.
We can use peculiarity of Curds to develop Georgia’s brand product jointly with other traditional supplements. The hotel expresses very well how important element gastronomy is for tourism sector. Foreign guests visit our restaurants thanks to recommendations by other visitors and this signifies Georgian food in this field occupies leading positions», Tsulaia noted.
Nata Nizharadze, PR manager for Qalaqi restaurant:
«We have 50 dishes in our menu and foreign tourists are inspired by Megruli Kharcho and Nuts Sorbet.
Our restaurant has menus developed by French chef with Micheline star Nikolai Isnard and his team member Devi Tavernier. For a year our chefs were working on studying Georgian tastes and developing Georgian fusion. As a result of these efforts, we have developed a unique menu for Qalaqi restaurant. We have both traditional dishes, fusion of Georgian dishes, very tasteful samples of world cuisines and gastronomic menu, developed exclusively by Micheline star owner chef Nikoalui Isnard for us. French chefs have worked on making dishes lighter for foreign clients. Megruli Kharcho is one of similar dishes and foreign visitors are inspired by it.
In our restaurant we have two sorts of Megruli Kharcho – the first one, for those who fast and another – with meat. Nuts Sorbet is a product developed by our chefs and their friends. This is an exclusive product for us. Nuts Sorbet is added to Megruli Kharcho, which is melted and dish is distributed equally.
Ghomi with lemon gel inspire foreign visitors, as it adds special piquantness to this dish. We can openly take pride in this dish. Our chefs have developed unique menu. Even Khachapuri with changed structure is the most delicious dish at our restaurant, Nata Nizharadze said.
Chef Jumber Khundadze, director general for Kakhelebi restaurant: «80% of visitors at our restaurant are foreign citizens and they show huge interest in traditional Georgian dishes, including Khinkali, Khachapuri, Bughlama, Mtsvadi, as well as Jigari in tomato», Khundadze noted.