Tired of cookie cutter tourism? Want to excite your taste buds? Enjoy breath-taking nature and ancient sites?
Come visit Georgia!
Any travel information site about Georgia will give you the basics: it is part of the Silk Road, it sits at the crossroads between cultures. The food. The wine. The mountains… traditions and dances…
But I believe Georgia is more than this. My Georgia is surprising. It is not for the average person. Georgia caters to the unique visitor and guest.
Take Georgian food, for example. Partly influenced by every culture that has ever conquered this land (legion is thy name), it follows the lead of nature – local produce, spices, flavours. It tastes a bit like this, a bit like that, but, in the end, like nothing you have ever tried before. Garlicky, with walnuts, spicy and loads of fresh herbs. It does not follow the classic French cuisine rules. In fact, it does not follow any rules. No nonsense salads and desserts and no fancy-schmancy sauces. It’s simple, seasonal and savoury. And as a result, it’s slowly becoming trendy among the foodies. Try it before it mainstreams: Georgian food has already made it to the pages of the Washington Post.
The second wonder – Georgian wine. Here, you come to visit a country which is far away from the European wine centres and find Georgians boasting the oldest wine varieties in the world. Despite the fact that wine production was hindered during the Soviet Union – some varieties were more equal than others – many Georgian entrepreneurs are now restoring long-lost sorts, scanning villages for that special vine hidden away in someone’s grandfather’s back yard. Wine is so common here that a private piece of land can’t be pictured without at least several vines creeping up special columns – talaveri.
City dwellers don’t want to be left behind either and so you may encounter random wine harvests on the 10th-floor balcony of a multi-story building. Everyone produces wine. Homemade wine, bottled wine, regulated wine, improvised wine, traditional amphora wine, new “European” wine, wine that has won awards or your cousin’s best friend’s wine that is saved only for special guests. Even I have a little vineyard that my grandfather grew at our country house years ago. My grandparents died, the house is so old it needs a breathing machine, but the taleveri still produces concord grapes (Isabella in Georgian) every September.