Khinkali, khachapuri and churchkhela

And wine…I love a Merlot or a Colombard or a Rosé – when it comes to wine I’m neither fussy nor knowledgeable. What I do know for sure is that Georgia may be one of the most underrated wine producers in the world. In years to come, Mukhrani, Badagoni and Marani will slip off the tongue as easily as any Western European, Australasian or South American wine house.

Dumplings the size of your palm? Choose your fillings: pork and beef, mushroom, cheese or potato? That’s a khinkali – reminded me of pow (Trinidad Chinese dumpling). These steamed beauties were as ubiquitous as they were delicious. Georgian pizza would be a lazy way of describing khachapuri but after you’ve had one, that’s exactly how you’ll feel. Cheese and bread and sometimes a sunny-side-up egg– what’s not to love?

If you have a sweet tooth but trying to stay away from cakes and pastries then churchkhela is the perfect snack. Dried fruit pulp (think Fruit Roll-Ups) wrapped around walnuts. We noticed the sausage-like stalactites of red, purple and peach outside many shops on the way to Meidan place and had to try it and bring some back.

When we weren’t drinking wine or local spring water, we had Georgian lemonade. This was a misnomer as it came in different flavours. I deduced it was cordial which was added to fizzy water. Our favourites were lemon and tarragon. The latter looked like liquid kryptonite and was refreshingly different.

On our last night, our landlady took us to a traditional restaurant about 30 minutes’ drive away in New Tblisi. In this converted watermill, replete with waterfall, we sat on the riverside terrace and ordered a kilogram of bbq pork and a superb red wine. For checking in on FB to the Tsiskvili restaurant, we got a free bottle of sparkling wine which we had been assured was wonderful. The traditional Georgian music, singing and dancing facilitated degustation.

However, to paraphrase a Trinbago saying ‘we eye was bigger dan we belly’. We took some of the pork home and had it for breakfast the next morning and we gave the sparkling wine as a gift to our host.

This is the third and final of three posts abot our visit to Tbilisi.

Tempted to visit?

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