The Top Georgian savory pastries to try
Italians have pizza, the British have pot pies and Georgians have various kinds of Khachapuri. Georgian cuisine is spreading, at great pace, all over the world. One may come across fancy, cozy and authentic Georgian restaurants in almost all major cities. It is in these restaurants that food enthusiasts can enjoy buttery, cheesy bread boats and tender bean pies called Lobiani. Yet, one can only experience the real, genuine taste in the place where the dish originally comes from. Georgians love to eat and love to cook, so almost every occasion ends up with a Georgian supra (traditional feast) and several toasts. Moreover, the fact that feasting is recognized as an inseparable part of Georgian culture and is regarded as a ritual of high importance has been proved once again. Believe it or not, the Georgian supra has been included on the UNESCO list of ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage’. But before becoming acquainted with this phenomenon, let’s have a look at Georgian pastry. Here are the top savory pastries that you should consider trying when visiting Georgia.
The king of Georgian savory pastry is the khachapuri. The name of this popular dish speaks for itself and literally translates to ‘cheese bread’. Although it is difficult to pronounce for some foreigners, it is certainly very easy to eat since once you take your first bite you will hardly be able to resist eating the whole pie! There are several types of khachapuri. Almost every region of Georgia has its own version of this cheese pie, yet Imeruli Khachapuri from country’s Imereti region is considered the most widespread and traditional. Ideally, Imeruli khachapuri should have a thin crust and hearty filling of stretched cheese inside. But if you happen to travel to different parts of Georgia don’t miss the chance to try Megruli khachapuri (a double cheese pie from the Samegerelo region) as well as the world-famous boat shaped Adjaruli khachapuri with an egg, butter and cheese stuffing from the Adjara region of Georgia.
Lobiani is perhaps one of the most unusual demonstrations of how kidney beans could be prepared. Lobiani resembles Khachapuri with its round shape but it has mashed kidney beans inside instead of cheese. Lobiani is baked almost everywhere in Georgia, yet the pie originally comes from Georgia’s mountainous northwestern Racha region, an area that is often referred to as ‘little Switzerland’. There are two basic types of bean pie, plain Lobiani and Lobiani with the flavor of smoked ham. The second version is prepared in the following way; kidney beans are boiled together with ham so that they absorb the strong flavor of smoked meat, then the bean filling is wrapped in dough and baked. Apart from the traditional round Lobiani, one can try a relatively modern type made with puff pastry as well. It is a perfect option for vegans and vegetarians visiting Georgia.
Kubdari is another must try Georgian disc-shaped pie. Svaneti, Georgia’s remote highland that is considered the highest inhabited place in Europe, is the birthplace of this unique and delicious dish. In contrast with Khachapuri and Lobiani, Kubdari is prepared with chopped meat seasoned with Svanuri salt (a mix of spices and salt). Kubdari should be crispy on the outside while juicy and tender on the inside. If you want to sample real Kubdari then you’d better pay a visit to this magnificent place and enjoy the beauty of its landscape together with its cuisine. Although getting there by car requires some time, it’s really worth it.
Khabizgina is another type of traditional Georgian pastry that originates from the Ossetia region. The original Khabizgina is made with a cheese and potato mixture, yet the filling may vary from potato to cabbage as well. It’s better to try it as a homemade dish in a local household rather than in a restaurant.
Gurian pie is actually another version of Khachapuri, but it is a crescent-shaped patty-cake. The pie is called Gurian because it comes from Georgia’s western Guria region. These savory cakes are rather small in size and have cheese and a hardboiled egg inside. Traditionally, Gurian pies are baked at Christmas, but you can easily get them any time in almost every bakery.
Mkhvlovani is an extremely delicious round pie filled with the mixture of cheese and various herbs, though it can also be prepared with beetroot leaves or spinach as well. This dish also comes from Georgia’s mountainous villages.
Achma is one of the most delicious and popular dishes from Georgia’s seaside region. So when you are in Batumi, don’t limit yourself to Adjarian Khachapuri alone because you should definitely try this tender, culinary masterpiece. Many tourists compare it to Italian lasagna due to its appearance and texture, yet the taste is different. It consists of tender layers of dough with Georgian sulguni cheese between them. Each layer is sprinkled with grated cheese and brushed with melted butter, so keep in mind that Achma contains a lot of calories, but it’s really worth trying.