hidden europe 3

Plums, walnuts and cilantro

by Nicky Gardner


hidden europe celebrates a distinctive Caucasian cuisine

There are many obvious reasons for visiting Georgia: its great mediaeval fortresses such as Narikala (right in the heart of the capital, Tbilisi) and Khertvisi; the rock citadel at Vardzia; its churches and monasteries; its high altitude skiing; the unspoilt Svaneti villages of the Mestia district. There are also some less obvious reasons: satsivi, khinkali and chakapuli! Just three examples of classic Georgian cuisine.

In a hidden europe e-newsletter in April, we predicted that following Ukraine's decision to relax its visa requirements this summer, Georgia would follow suit. And sure enough it was, with the Tbilisi parliament enacting the necessary legislation in early June. So, with visa free entry for citizens of EU and certain other countries now a reality, there is every prospect that we shall all be hearing a little more about Georgian food in the future.

When we suggested to guests recently that we might take in a Georgian restaurant for supper, the response was a hesitant "ah, yes... though we are not so keen on Russian food". Lesson number one with Georgia is forget all the preconceptions you may have about the old Soviet Union.

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