Ge­or­gia is one of the most ex­cit­ing and sur­pris­ing food des­ti­na­tions around, thanks to its ex­tra­or­di­nary tapestry of dishes, ably sup­ported by the world’s old­est tra­di­tion of wine­mak­ing

T. Dining by Singapore Tatler - - Savour Taste Test -

Dips are ev­ery­where—some are smooth like a creamy pâté, while oth­ers are coarser, like the sen­sa­tional fkhali made from beet­root, wal­nuts, spices and yo­ghurt. Un­fa­mil­iar but de­li­cious cheeses also abound such as sul­guni, a brined cow’s milk cheese sim­i­lar to moz­zarella that has to be served on the day it’s made, and

imeruli, a white curd cheese.

Of course, all th­ese mezze need a plat­form and few coun­tries any­where make bet­ter bread than Ge­or­gia. In­deed, the coun­try’s na­tional dish is khacha­puri, a ridicu­lously tasty and sin­ful num­ber that is es­sen­tially cheese pizza. Hot, stringy cheeses—al­ways more than one type—are melted into the soft bread that is baked to a per­fect golden brown and served as a side dish.

We haven’t even reached the main cour­ses or desserts in our epic din­ner at Tsiskvili, but there are count­less other restau­rants to tempt vis­i­tors. One of the cap­i­tal’s most well-known is Fu­nic­u­lar, sit­ting on the Mtats­minda moun­tain that over­looks the golden domes, an­cient roofs and minarets of the city be­low. No prizes for guess­ing that the most pop­u­lar way to get there is via a fu­nic­u­lar tramway.

A supra feast is in­com­plete with­out the main event, usu­ally of chicken, pork, veal and other meats char­coal-grilled to per­fec­tion and served shash­lik-style on skew­ers. They’re fre­quently ac­com­pa­nied by tke­mali,a uni­ver­sally pop­u­lar sharp sauce made from plum, dill and gar­lic—so ubiq­ui­tous that it’s known by some as Ge­or­gian ketchup.

Fu­nic­u­lar also serves a bril­liant ver­sion of

chaka­puli, a veal stew again livened by plums, but this time with mounds of tar­ragon. It’s a sen­sa­tional com­bi­na­tion—sweet, sharp and sour all at once. Other op­tions in­clude ground lamb served like a kofte and dusted in the citrus lift of sumac.

A spe­cial men­tion must also go to Bar­barestan, a restau­rant whose en­tire menu is based on a cook­book writ­ten in

1914 by a duchess, Bar­bar Jor­dadze. Bril­liant dishes demon­strate how Ge­or­gian cook­ing has stood the test of time with­out the need for forced in­no­va­tion or rein­ven­tion. Most no­tably, its menu fea­tures a sen­sa­tional au­bergine, gar­lic and fresh pars­ley dip and a sour mush­room soup that could ri­val pho for its life-enhancing good­ness.

The truth is that pretty much wher­ever you choose to eat, you can’t go wrong. Gen­uine hos­pi­tal­ity runs in the blood of Ge­or­gians like few other des­ti­na­tions.

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