What dishes to try when travelling in Adjara
Georgia’s coastal Adjara region is one of the most popular and frequently visited places in Georgia. This part of Georgia is especially attractive to tourists for its beaches, sea and tropical flora, yet another important feature of this region is Adjarian cuisine that will surprise and please food lovers from around the world. When travelling to Adjara, its capital Batumi or the nearby mountainous villages, you must consider trying following dishes.
The king of Adjarian cuisine is the boat-shaped cheese bread that represents a real culinary artwork. As a rule, Adjarian Khachapuri is the very first thing that tourists sample, since it is considered as a kind of trademark, not only of Adjarian cuisine but generally the whole of Georgia. The dish is boat-shaped as the main occupation of Adjarian people traditionally was fishing, while the egg yolk on top of it represents the sun going down over the sea. This type of Khachapuri is filled with melted cheese and served together with a partially cooked egg and a small chunk of butter. One must thoroughly blend the cheese filling using a fork and knife and only afterwards tear off a piece of bread and dip it into the hearty buttery filling. Keep in mind, there are basically two types of Adjaruli Khachapuri , the classic one and another with less dough, so it’s crispy and lighter to consume.
Achma is the second most popular dish from the Adjara Region. The appearance and ingredients of this dish might remind you of Italian lasagna, but the taste is quite different. The dish consists of tender layers of dough, covered with a hearty cheese and melted butter filling. It’s true that Georgia uses so much butter in its traditional cuisine, it is second only to France. Although, it is a universal truth and culinary enthusiasts will agree that you can never have too much butter. If you want to experience the authentic taste of crispy and tender Achma, then it is highly recommended to try homemade Achma, yet one can also find good local cafes where the fresh and mouth-watering layered Achma dish is served in Adjara.
Borano is yet another creamy and heavy meal of Adjarian cuisine, but at the same time extremely delicious. The main ingredients of borano is cheese and butter, actually it is cheese cooked in melted butter in a clay pot called a ‘ketsi’. The dish goes well with Georgian bread such as shoti or mcahdi (corn bread), cucumber-tomato salad and pairs perfectly with local white wine.
Khaimagi is a popular Adjarian cream similar to sour cream or cream-cheese that originates from the region’s mountainous villages. The product is made from fresh milk and it is extremely fatty. As a rule, khaimagi is served with mchadi and cheese. One has to spread the cream onto the mcahdi, put cheese on the top and consume it in this way. Yet khaimagi can be used for various other dishes or consumed separately as well. But, be careful and don’t eat too much! Moreover, Adjarian people produce Iaghi from it, a type of butter that is the primary ingredient of many Adjarian dishes.
Chirbuli is an Adjarian style omlette that is incredibly delicious. Eggs are cooked in a walnut-tomato sauce with onion, garlic and various Georgian spices. The ground walnut, tomato and spices give the eggs piquant flavor that will ultimately captivate any food enthusiast. So if you have the chance to sample this hearty and energizing breakfast don’t resist temptation!
The inhabitants of Adjara’s mountainous villages mainly consume and produce milk products, so that is why Adjarian cuisine is rich in meals made from cheese, butter and other dairy products. Sinori is a perfect demonstration of how varied dishes made from dairy products can be. It’s a combination of flattened bread called lavash, cottage cheese and butter baked in a clay pot called a ‘ketsi’. Similarly to other Adjarian dishes, it is also considered a heavy meal, yet it is extremely delicious and tender, so it is definitely worth sampling.
After cheesy and buttery dishes, it is time to sample some famous vegan food from the Adjara region. Malakhto is a green bean dish made from fresh young beans, ground walnut, spices and the most important ingredient is ismir (juice of sour grapes) that serves as a dressing and gives an incredible flavor to the dish. So don’t forget to put malakhto on your must try list.
Iakhni is an authentic Adjarian meat dish that stands out for its rich and piquant flavor. Iakhni might remind you of satsivi, another popular Georgian dish made from turkey and walnuts, yet they differ significantly. Slices of beef are cooked in walnut sauce together with Georgian spices. Get ready; once you try Iakhni, you will never forget its exceptional and long lasting flavor.
Barabuli (red mullet)
Adjara is a seaside region, so it boasts a variety of seafood. The most popular fish with locals as well as tourists is the so called ‘Barabuli’ (red mullet). These small rose-colored fish are very delicious and easy to prepare. Barabuli is fried in an oily pan until golden and served with lemon slices. The fish are so small that you don’t have to worry about their tiny bones, so you can consume them like potato chips!