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(Mostly) About Food: The Other Georgia on My Mind

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(Mostly) About Food…

By Diane Pohl Minott

The Other Georgia on My Mind

I had intended to write about chocolate (sigh) today, but I recently received an email which prompted a change in plans.

The email was from the American Friends of Georgia, an organization which does charitable work in Georgia (the country that straddles Europe and Asia) and also promotes their culture. Every year, Marusya Chavchavadze, an American who also possesses Georgian royal blood, conducts a tour through that fascinating country.

This blog is short so you will be tempted to peruse the brochure and, possibly, do a few searches. I could use a lot of superlatives when describing Georgia, but perhaps you would think I am exaggerating, so I’ll let the brochure and searches do the talking.

I will, however, mention a few reasons why you might consider putting Georgia on your list of must-visit countries.

Marusya has deep connections in Georgia. I met her on occasion while my husband and I lived in Georgia. Her charitable work is impressive, and she has contacts throughout the country. As Georgia has a total population of less than 4 million, even I knew everyone once or twice removed. But her connections—and her passion—are much deeper.

As long as this is a blog (mostly) about food, let me say that Georgian cuisine is considered the best among all of the cuisines of the former Soviet Union, and given that there were 69 nationalities represented, that is saying quite a lot. Among Georgian cuisine, Magrelian is considered the best. As there are 14 languages spoken within Georgia, there are quite a few cuisine variations to choose from.

It is believed, and it is certainly possible, that the first wine was produced in Georgia. We visited a wine museum in London that validated the Georgians’ claim to that. As you can imagine the vines are ancient. As more modern techniques of wine making have been adopted, the quality has improved and the results can dazzle.

Georgia is steeped in Christianity. If you choose, you can visit a church from the 6th century. The culture is amazingly tolerant, and in the heart of old Tbilisi, the capital, you will find an orthodox church, a mosque, and a synagogue in close proximity.

Georgians are the most creative people I have ever encountered. Polyphonic music is deeply rooted in the culture, as is dance (truly awesome), theatre, metal working, painting and other crafts, especially cloisonné. The artistically and architecturally inclined among you may appreciate the celebrated doors of old Tbilisi and other building details. If you are, just click here.

A view of Old Tbilisi in cloisonné—a purchase from my last visit

Do you need a few more reasons to convince you to visit?  Georgians LOVE Americans. I will repeat that. Georgians LOVE Americans. 

You will see sights you never dreamed of, such as the old and still operational baths visited by Peter the Great, ancient church/fortresses such as Ananuri (my favorite place in the world), the tomb of the massive David the Builder, who founded a famous school near Kutaisi, etc., etc. etc. 

I could go on, but you can do some research on your own. For more details on Georgia and Marusya trip, click here to view the brochure I mentioned earlier.

A view of Svaneti in the high Caucasus Mountains

More about Diane…

I've been traveling ever since I got my first bonus check, and a lot of that was solo, which allowed me better access to what some call the deep culture within the countries I visited. I married a man who lived in four countries before he started high school, and together we've lived in five countries on three continents. Through it all, I've searched out good food and have developed a respect and affinity for those who particulate in its production. Call me a good-food appreciator.

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