Georgia

Why Georgia?

Karma chose Georgia, and I’m so glad she did. The recipes look amazing. I cannot wait to try them.

My experience of Georgia

All I know about Georgia is that the capital is Tblisi, and that the flag is an attractive design. And that it’s near Russia. And that’s it.

While preparing the factsheet, I discovered that Georgia is the birthplace of wine, that only Georgians speak Georgian, and that Georgians don’t call it Georgia. Oh, and you have to type in “country” when you google Georgia, otherwise you get that US state.

Preparation

We’re going to Georgia on Sunday 25 November, and we’ve invited Abby, Sam, Sunday and Jude. It’s the day after the Victorian state elections, so there’ll be plenty of discussion topics on the table as well all that food.

The only ingredient I might have trouble sourcing is ajika, which is a spicy type of sauce. There are plenty of recipes for it, but they make fairly large quantities, and I only need one tablespoon.

Note to self: DO NOT leave it till the last minute to try to find ajika!

The menu

I am so excited about this menu. It looks fabulous:

  • Georgian cheese bread with fresh herbs
  • Tarragon and egg flaky pastry
  • Dumplings
  • Fried eggplant with walnut sauce
  • Spinach and walnut salad
  • Beets in tart cherry sauce
  • Chicken with garlic sauce
  • Flatbread stuffed with lamb and onions
  • Barbecued pork with pomegranate juice and ajika
  • Tarragon lemonade
9 November

I’m so proud of myself. I did not leave it till the last minute to find ajika. Today I went to two Russian delicatessens, recommended to me by my friend at work who appreciates good food and is from the Ukraine. Hello to Russian Tidbits in Koornang Road, Carnegie and Kazachok in Centre Road, Bentleigh. I got ajika from Kazachok, and from Russian tidbits, I got special Georgian salt that another foody friend (from Russia) at work recommended.

The salt is amazing! I’ll definitely be using that in lots of cooking. If only I knew what is in it! It smells divine, with flavourings I know I should recognise, but can’t quite identify. There’s not one word of English on the packet so Lauren took a photo of it and asked Google to translate it – it’s got salt and spices and spices. I think I’ll take a photo of it and take it to work rather than relying on Google.

24 November

Good grief. I’ve had a full-on week of meetings in Perth and got home after midnight on Friday night (thank you Sydney for having storms that disrupted the entire Qantas network!). Today is going to be very busy – I haven’t even been to the supermarket.

The food

I think the dish of the day might have been the eggplant with walnut sauce – it was really nice. The garlic chicken was delicious too – with lots and lots of garlic, it was the proof of the old saying that the only thing that is better than garlic is more garlic. The beet salad was very nice too. I had trouble finding tart cherries in the supermarkets, but the local health food shop in Heathmont came through AGAIN. Thank you Just Healthy – I cannot recommend you highly enough.

I overcooked the pork so it was a bit too dry.

The breads were all very nice. But stuffed breads always are, aren’t they?

The spinach salad was not all that popular, but maybe that was because it was so unlike salads we usually have. The spinach was steamed then pulsed, then mixed with a blend of walnuts and other flavourings that ended up in a paste.

And I misread the gozinaki recipe, which was a pity. The recipe wanted 500g of walnuts and then asked for them to be shelled. I used 500g of already shelled walnuts, so there was not enough toffee mixture to set the gozinaki as it was supposed to.

Here are the recipes for our faves – Georgia best recipes

Click here to see all our favourite recipes.

The drinks

Ah yes, the drinks. Because I have been so busy at work, I didn’t even think about ordering Georgian wine. You can’t just waltz into Uncle Dan’s and buy it.

Enter Plan B. There are no cocktails that have Georgia (the country) or Tblisi in their name, so I bought some vodka and Kahlua and we’ll have Black Georgians rather than Black Russians.

Abby sent me a text on Saturday night to say that they would bring some Georgian wine. I was mightily impressed that they could lay their hands on Georgian wine so easily. But it wasn’t so easy. Lovely people that they are – when they realised they couldn’t get it at Uncle Dan’s, they drove all the way into Northcote on Sunday morning to buy Georgian wine. They turned up with two bottles of white and a bottle of red. What dedication to the cause that is!

The first white (see photo below) wasn’t the nicest wine I’ve had, but the red was lovely. Apparently the second white was very nice but, by then I was into the Black Georgians so I didn’t go back to wine.

I must make a point, though, of trying to get some Georgian wine when I am near inner-city shopping strips. That’s what this whole adventure is about – stepping out of our ordinary habits and trying some more exotic.

The ambience

Again, we had to eat inside – this time because of the heavy rain we’ve been having. I can’t wait to be able to eat outside again!

I found some Georgian music on Spotify, which added considerably to the ambience. Some of it was quite dirge-like, but most of it was quite uplifting.

The quiz

Will wrote the quiz, which was another good one. Caitlin absolutely crunched it. Well done, Caitlin. I hope that if you ever have to learn about Georgia at school, you can remember some of what we did today.

Here’s the factsheet – Factsheet_Georgia

Here’s the place-mat –Place-mat_Georgia

And here’s the quiz – Quiz_Georgia

Where to next?

A group of us are camping in Robe over Christmas, so we’ll have Lunch in New Zealand (in Robe) on Christmas Day. There’ll be Lauren and Will and the two young kids (Elysia is STILL in Norway – hello Elysia, I miss you xxx), me, Viv and Bill and another school family who have been caravanning around Australia all year. It’ll be lovely to catch up with Felicity, Paul, Matilda and Eliot again.

We also mapped out all our countries for 2019. How organized is that????

This is where we’re going when:

  • January – Suriname
  • February – Mexico
  • March – Vietnam (at Abby and Sam’s)
  • April – nowhere. We’ll be in the UK for Karma and Rob’s wedding. Can’t wait for Karma and Rob’s wedding!!! Love you Karma and Rob!
  • May – Russia
  • June – India
  • July – Turkey
  • August – Netherlands
  • September – South Africa
  • October – Sri Lanka
  • November – USA
  • December – Lebanon

Good grief, another year has gone!

But, in the meantime, check out New Zealand here.

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