TIME FOR A TOAST

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

A crit­i­cal el­e­ment of any Ge­or­gian feast is the mak­ing of toasts, led by a toast­mas­ter called a

tamada, where al­co­hol is of­ten served in a horn known as a kantsi. It usu­ally con­tains the na­tional drink, chacha, which is a sort of brandy made from the grape residue af­ter wine­mak­ing, not un­like grappa. Flavours in­clude tan­ger­ine, fig and—but of course—tar­ragon. As for the strength, fig­ure a hefty 40% for bot­tles in the shops or a mind-blow­ing 65% for home­brew. As to the taste, An­thony Bour­dain was clear when he vis­ited Ge­or­gia: “It sounds in­nocu­ous enough. It’s not. It hurts.”

The toast­ing is se­ri­ous busi­ness and can make din­ners last for hours, as there are seem­ingly count­less peo­ple and tra­di­tions to raise a glass to. An­other el­e­ment not to be missed is the beau­ti­ful, slightly melan­cholic poly­phonic Ge­or­gian singing, pre­dom­i­nantly by quar­tets of men singing a cap­pella. Their vo­cal ranges are ex­tra­or­di­nary and many of the melodies sub­lime.

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