Cuisine and wine
Georgian feast is one of the most important traditions in Georgian culture. Nowadays it’s one of the strongest identification features of Georgian people . Structure of Georgian feast is very plain; Its elements are : wine, bread (generally with the meaning of food), toasts and songs. Harmonious mixture of these four elements make the whole Georgian feast.
egardless of size and type, a supra is always led by a tamada, or toastmaster, who introduces each toast during the feast. The tamada is elected by the banqueting guests or chosen by the host. A successful tamada must possess great rhetorical skill and be able to consume a large amount of alcohol without showing signs of drunkenness. During the meal, the tamada will propose a toast, and then speak at some length about the topic. The guests raise their glasses, but do not drink. After the tamada has spoken, the toast continues, often in a generally counter-clockwise direction (to the right). The next guest who wishes to speak raises their glass, holds forth, and then drains their glass.
Georgian cuisine refers to the cooking styles and dishes with origins in the nation of Georgia and prepared byGeorgian people around the world. The cuisine offers a variety of dishes with various herbs and spices. Each historical province of Georgia has its own distinct culinary tradition, with variations such as Megrelian, Kakhetian, and Imeretian cuisines. In addition to various meatdishes, Georgian cuisine also offers a variety of vegetarian dishes.
Traditional Georgian breads are varied, and include Tonis Puri, Khacha Puri (cheese bread), Shotis Puri, Mesxuri Puri, and Cadi. Georgian breads are traditionally baked in a large, round, well-shaped oven called T'one.
Wine culture in Georgia
From times immemorial, wine is known to occupy a special place in the consciousness of the Georgian people. It is with wine a Georgian would celebrate the joy and in wine he would find consolation. For a Georgian, wine is (and has always been) the medium either to get well or to brace up. Wine is perceived as the environment to strike up an acquaintance, and also the instrument to strike up a friendship. Wine is created to set up landmarks of life: birthday, wedding day, starting a business, successful completion of work… In the long run, no holiday can be imagined without wine, no matter how they celebrate it – privately, or at a sumptuous feast.
For the Georgians, wine is much more than just staff to drink. You will notice the traces of winemaking in the Georgian music and architecture, in the very Georgian philosophy – the view of things, the way of life...Finally, when in the fourth century Saint Nino brought Chistianity to Georgia, she held the cross made from grapevine interlaced with her own hair. “Cross of Vine” is the unique symbol of Chistianity.
Georgia is the ancient cradle of winemaking. First cultural species of grapes came out here; unique geographic whereabouts and a diverse ground provide ideal conditions for winegrowing and winemaking.
History of Kakheti winegrowing takes a start from VI millennium BC. Grape leftovers, discovered by the archeologists, date back to the mentioned period and they are the oldest around the globe, that proves once again that Georgia is a homeland of vine. Scientists believe that the word Ghvino (wine, vin, vine) has Georgian origin. 500 out of world-known 2.000 grape species, are Georgian.
During the archeological excavations, there were unearthed bronze period goods, the oldest winepresses and wine-cellars, clay and metal wineglasses and others. There is also discovered a statue of a wine-drinking man, dating back to IX-VII centuries BC. The statue is also considered a symbol of fecundity
Wine is made in every family in Kakheti. Wine, made using the peasant rule, never lags famous brands.Traditionally, picked grapes are placed in a special building the wine-cellar. They use the winepress for compressing grapes. The juice is then poured into clay pitchers that are kept in the ground where it is matured and turned into a wine.People use special sacks made of leather Tiki and Rumba, to transport and keep the wine.Wineglasses are mainly made of clay. Traditionally, there are special horns of a goat or the aurochs also used for drinking wine.
The wine-cellar was usually built near the dwelling house or a vineyard, using stone or brick as a construction material. We also meet wine-cellars that are firmly constructed using processed stones, also decorated with ornaments, belonging to line-up of architectural monuments. The wine-cellar, as a rule, is equipped with a winepress and clay pitchers. Frequently, there are also table equipments in the wine-cellar, as winemakers taste wine all along the wine-making process.
Grape is pressed is a winepress, made of stone or wood, having a form of a boat. The bottom of the winepress is covered with the chain of a cornel and a fern. Peasant was getting into the winepress, squashing grapes with his feet, with accompaniment of songs and screams. Now, this tradition of wine pressing is not followed much and it can now be visible at wine festivals and theatrical shows.
Clay pitcher is used to make and keep the wine. It is made of clay that passes through a special treatment. In order to maintain temperature of wine, the pitcher is put in the ground; it is then hermetically closed with the grape juice inside, until the latter finally turns into a wine. The pitchers were also opened for mixing the juice and removing Chacha. Nowadays, wine is rarely made in pitchers; it more serves a keeper of the wine.
During some archeological excavations, the pitchers culture was unearthed in ancient layers. There was also a tradition of donating clay pitchers to churches.
Grape-picking in Georgia is called Rtveli- a Vintage. Vintage, as a rule, starts at the end of September and is under way about two weeks. In Kakheti, the vintage is a labor feast, for which population is particularly getting ready. Grape-picking starts in early morning and lasts till the late evening. The event is accompanied by special folk songs dedicated to the process. Picked grapes are kept in wattled baskets called- Godori. The vintage is studded as a rule, with neighbors and relatives, and guests participating in the activity. At the end of the working day, people gather at the table to celebrate the festivity together.
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