There is a legend that once God was distributing the land for different countries. At that time, Georgians didn’t take part, as they were having a Georgian feast with wine, songs, and toasts. When God has finished dividing the land, the Georgians suddenly got that they have missed the deal. Thus, they said: “We toasted in your honor. Come and sit with us!” God tasted the Georgian cuisine, saw what the Georgian feast was, and gave the best piece of land that he reserved for himself to witty people.
Indeed, the mere mention of Georgia brings the water to mouth. One of the main trump cards of this magnificent country is its varied and incredibly tasty cuisine. However, today we want to tell not about the entire Georgian culinary culture. We will concentrate just on one chapter - the Adjarian cuisine, which you certainly should try when you arrive in Adjara.
In addition to typical Georgian dishes, such as lobio, khinkali, kharcho and others, Adjara has unique culinary masterpieces. Tourists can try these treats only in this region.
The basis of Adjarian cuisine consists of greens, garlic, walnuts, meat, cheeses, seasonal vegetables and fruits, and, of course, a large number of various spices. To tell about all the dishes of the region, we’d have to write a whole book. That’s why we chose only the most colorful and popular ones.
Acquaintance with the national cuisine should begin with Adjarian khachapuri that is the culinary pride and landmark of Batumi.
An Adjarian version is distinguished from a traditional khachapuri by its form. The cake with cheese stuffing looks like an open boat, into which an egg is added. Various legends tell about khachapuri. They say it is in the form of a boat, because it was a favorite dish of sailors who arrived from the voyage. The second story tells that an egg represents the sun that has rolled into the sea. Whatever the origin of khachapuri, its taste is incredible!
To make the Georgians laugh is to cut the Adjarian khachapuri with a knife. You will immediately be compared to a Chinese who copes with borscht with chopsticks. The right way is to break off pieces of dough from the edges and dunk them in the cheese and egg core. The dish is tasty and hearty. It is enough to satisfy hunger of an adult.
Achma is Adjarian puff pie made from cheese and layers of thinly rolled pre-boiled dough. It can be considered one of the interpretations of khachapuri.
Achma is a dish best served hot, nevertheless, it can be reheated again - it does not lose its taste at all. Thin layers of melted cheese combined with the butter give the dish a very rich but light flavor. Achma is considered a festive dish, so it is usually cooked in the shape of a pie on large square baking sheets.
Borano is a hot snack which is no less tasty, but it is lighter by nature. The main ingredients of Borano are braided Adjarian cheese and butter. The cheese is cooked in melted butter in a pot. This dish is well combined with Georgian bread shoti or mchadi (flat cake of corn), a light salad of cucumbers and tomatoes. This meal is perfectly complemented by white wine. Borano is often called the Georgian fondue. This high-calorie and very tasty dish will not leave anyone indifferent.
If you prefer cottage cheese, you should try sinori. These are delicate rolls of thin puff pastry with curd filling, melted butter, and garlic.
This treat looks, of course, a bit unusual, but it is worthy. In general, when you taste Georgian dishes, it is really challenging to say something. You can only mumble in a satisfied manner and nod while being asked for a refill.
After snacks, you can change for the main course. For example, try yakhni. It is tender stewed beef with an original sauce of walnuts and greens. Yakhni is considered a traditional wedding meal in Adjara. It is cooked in huge pots. The dish is spicy. It is perfectly combined with fine red wine and fresh hot Georgian bread called Shoti.
Adjarian chirbuli are homemade eggs cooked in tomato sauce with walnuts, garlic, greens, and traditional Georgian spices. Chirbuli is the perfect dish for breakfast.
Clay pans called ketsi are used to cook this dish, as they keep heat for a very long time. Chirbuli is also served directly in the ketsi, where it was cooked. Some cooks use ordinary frying pans to make chirbuli, but a dish cooked on ketsi is more delicious. The sauce remains hot until the last drop that you pick up with a piece of bread, almost licking your fingers.
Adjara is a seaside region, so it would be strange if you won’t taste local fish while being there. The most popular fish among locals and tourists is surmullet or red mullet. These small fish are very tasty and easy to cook. The mullet is rolled in flour, fried in oil until golden and served with slices of lemon. A traditional sweet and sour sauce, tkemali, is also necessarily served.
The fish is so small that you do not need to pull the bones out of it. You can chew mullet just like potato chips! This fish will be an excellent snack for beer. By the way, local Adjarian beer is delicious too!
River trout is worth attention too. You can taste it in many mountain regions of Adjara.
After you have enjoyed the heavy dishes of butter, cheese, meat, and fish, it's time to arrange a day off for yourself and taste some famous vegetarian dishes of Adjara. Malakhto is a treat of young green beans, chopped nuts, spices and young grape juice that serves as a seasoning and gives the incredible flavor. Therefore, do not forget to add malakhto to your list of items to taste while in Adjara.
Another old vegetarian dish is exceptionally cooked in the highland Adjara, in Khulo and Keda villages. Pkhal lobio consists of beans, lahan leaves, walnuts, greens, various spices, and garlic.
Pkhal lobio is always served with mchadi, with flat cakes made of corn flour to replace bread. It is necessary to eat this dish, like other Adjarian meal, with your hands. Tear off a piece of mchadi, dunk in a plate and eat!
As for desserts, Adjara also has something to please and surprise. So, perhaps the most popular sweet in Batumi is baklava. Of course, many eastern nations have the same treat that is called in quite a similar way. The Adjarian baklava is sweet, crunchy, and puffy. It is juicy as well, because of the syrup that it’s soaked in.
The real Adjarian baklava needs only thin filo dough, walnuts and sugar or honey. However, it is a laborious process to cook the sweet. Patience, neatness, sense of proportion and dexterous hands are required for first-class baklava. This work pays off the pleasure of the taste of a crispy treat with unsweetened coffee, as well as admiration of others!