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Georgian wines and sauces - cooking secrets

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September is a good time to consider a trip to Georgia. The snow in the mountains doesn’t yet prevent you from crossing the passes, and the sun is no longer baking on your butt. With each passing day you see less and less hiking backpacks of other tourists; and Tushin shepherds begin to gather for the long, month-long trek through the passes to the warm valley. This is the time when Rtveli, the grape harvest festival, is about to begin on the banks of the Alazani.

All the family, all the friends, all the acquaintances come to Rtveli. The spacious Georgian homes are finally filled with the voices of the children, the caring fiddling in the kitchen of the Georgian dada (mother), and the countless voices of the men. The whole big family will harvest, celebrate, eat, drink and sing on warm evenings, after a full day’s work.

Georgians are always hospitable and generous, but at this time especially. Late September and early October is the best time to visit Kakheti. When you come to any village, you are sure to find yourself at a big feast. A guest is the best thing that can happen to a Georgian’s life. You will be told, “Gamorjobo, Genotsvale!” and will be seated at a long, noisy, joyful table, covered with khinkali, khachapuri, shashlik, cheeses and, of course, young wine!
Even if you are in a hurry, the famous story is that you will be rewarded with a five-liter bottle of Saperavi and sent on your way with blessings.

Праздник вина в Грузии

Some peculiarities of Georgian wine

Kakheti is famous for its “Rkatsiteli”, “Saperavi” and especially “Kindzmarauli”.
The grapes for “Kindzmarauli” grow on just a piece of land of 120 hectares, and on this basis, the real “Kindzmarauli” is both rare and valuable. But the most important thing is its deliciousness!

Grapes in Georgia grow not only in Kakheti, but also in other regions. They have to be tied up higher, closer to the sun, so that it ripens. And the beautiful Kakhetians are very fond of joking about this subject. So it is considered that the best grapes grow in the Alazani Valley.

The grapes are used to make the best wine, and the wine is used to wash down the most delicious Caucasian shashlik. We will not dare to write about it, Georgians will tell you better, and in addition, they will even feed you. But shashlik without the world famous “satsebeli” or “tkemali” is no longer the same.

Соус сацебели

Satsebeli sauce

Excellent with meat, fish and even just potatoes. Classically, it is made from a mixture of pomegranate, grape, and blackberry juice, adding walnuts, chicken broth, red pepper, saffron, and coriander. But like many recipes, this one changes all the time. Some will add tomatoes and basil, while others choose to avoid the provocative cilantro. Do you like cilantro?

This sauce is invariably and constantly present on the tables of the Caucasus. It is sweet and sour, dense, fragrant and homemade – it is full of magic!

Tkemali sauce

Tkemali comes in two varieties: red and yellow. Both are made from tkemali plums, which is where the name comes from. The only difference is that the yellow sauce is made from unripe plums.  Aside from the plums, the sauce is flavored with garlic, crushed pepper, herbs and, of course, ombala (Georgian mint).
Serve it with “satsebeli” (meat or fish). The yellow “tkemali” is more sour, while the red sauce is sweet.

You can buy homemade sauces almost everywhere. You just have to go down to a stall for vegetables and there will be glass bottles of it for several GEL.

We would like to remind you that the well-known Ajika, too, originates from Georgia, namely from Adjara.

Соус Ткемали

In these articles, we have described only the most famous culinary features that your taste buds should pay attention to. Travel, taste, discover and share your findings with everyone!

Bon appetit!

Author: Katya Manojlo

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