5 must-eats in Batumi, Georgia: The crossroad of tastes

Georgian culture focuses on hospitality with treasured national rituals that are characterised by an array of table delicacies and plenty of wine, leaving you feeling like a part of a large, happy family

Team Wanderlust
20 February 2023
Promoted by
A Jara Georgia

In the heart of Western Georgia’s Adjara region, Batumi is a cultural hub with remarkable UNESCO World Natural Heritage Sites such as Kintrishi, Mtirala National Park, and Kobuleti Protected Areas. The city’s food scene is an experience in its own right and one not to be missed.

Georgian culture focuses on hospitality with treasured national rituals that are characterised by an array of table delicacies and plenty of wine, leaving you feeling like a part of a large, happy family. Here are just five food experiences not to be missed…

1. Join a supra

Stay in Batumi for a few days and there is a strong chance that you’ll find yourself invited to a Georgian feast known as supra that translates to tablecloth. This vibrant multi-course meal has an abundance of traditional fare and free flowing excellent regional wine. All you have to do is follow the toastmaster known as tamada who usually is the oldest or most respected person in the room who will also boast some great entertaining skills.

Expect numerous dishes laid out family style and several timely toasts throughout the evening. A general rule of thumb is to exclaim gaumarjos – the local equivalent of cheers after every toast.

Some of the staple dishes at a supra are nigvziani badrijani — fried aubergine rolls filled with a creamy garlic-walnut paste, mtsvadi — delectable barbecued meat and the rich dumplings known as khinkali. Be sure to leave room for several other enticing dishes that will be served.

2. Taste the adjaruli khachapuri

Along with its exciting and flavourful dishes, Batumi is also home to the celebrated Adjaruli Khachapuri which is bound to leave you with an unforgettable gastronomic experience. Adjarian Khachapuri is a boat-shaped bread that’s hollowed out and filled with generous portions of crumbly local cheese, butter and topped with a runny egg yolk.

This khachapuri is every cheese lover’s dream as it is served hot and fresh right out of the oven, with the cheese bubbling and the bread crisped to perfection.There are several restaurants that offer Adjaruli Khachapuri. Some renowned restaurants offer a colossal ‘titanic’ version that’s topped with six eggs and cooking masterclasses as well, so you can master how to make your own Khachapuri back home.

3. Sample iakhni

Another dish that originated in this region and is often on the menu at a supra is the iakhni – a hearty, decadent concoction of tender stewed beef with bold flavours of dried marigold flowers, walnut sauce, greens and herbs. The dish is mildly spiced and is bound to entice every epicurean.

Cooked in large pots and portions, iakhni is also known to be one of the main traditional meals served at weddings in Adjara. You don’t have to gate-crash a wedding to sample iakhni though, as many restaurants offer this traditional beauty on their menu.

It’s like a marriage made in heaven when paired with fine local red wine and remnants of the dish can be mopped up with some fresh shoti – Georgian bread.

4. Try sinori

While many are satisfied with the likes of khachapuri and khinkali, an unsung hero is sinori, an Adjarian rich breakfast made with puff pastry or sometimes lavash bread, garlic, a curd called nadughi which is a bit like cottage cheese, and generous amounts of melted butter.

5. Finish with something sweet

As Georgian viticulture is one of the oldest in the world, it’s no surprise that its desserts are also influenced by its wine. Start with the pelamushi, a pudding that comes in several hues, from light peach to dark purple as it is made with concentrated grape juice. While red grape juice is common, pelamushi made with white grapes is common at weddings.

On the streets you’ll find clusters of hanging jewel-toned candlesticks which is a Georgian candy called churchkhela. Soldiers relied on these sweets before going to battle to give them an energy boost. Churchkhela earned the nickname of being a ‘Georgian Snickers Bar’ as it is made with a row of walnuts dipped in grape juice, flour and sugar.

Don’t miss your chance to sample traditional Adjaran baklava. This sweet treat is a real labour of love and takes time to make. Creating baklava in the traditional way consists of preparing some 30 to 40 layers of pastry by hand. Each layer is covered smothered with sugar and walnuts. Normally, baklava is made with hazelnuts but it is the walnuts that makes the Adjaran variety so special.

Feeling inspired?

For more information, check out the official Batumi website.

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