(That’s Georgia, the former USSR country, not Georgia, the US state of course!)
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Khachapuri is a traditional Georgian bread filled with cheese and unequivocally one of the country’s greatest culinary hits; the name leaves no doubt as to the nature of the dish: khacha means cheese curds, puri means bread. As a matter of fact, it’s so universally beloved that the Gastronomic Association of Georgia created National Khachapuri Day, celebrated every February 27, to honor the dish as a symbol of the country’s gastronomic culture and to promote culinary tourism in Georgia.
Two of my favorites among at least a dozen types of khachapuri that I’ve encountered are adjaruli and megruli.
This is adjaruli, filled with tangy, salty sulguni cheese and imeruli, a fresh crumbly cheese which when melted together combine to make stretchy, cheesy nirvana; recipes vary, but it’s always delicious. It’s shaped like a kayak, the center of which is filled with the cheese mixture; a raw egg and a chunk of butter are added just as it’s removed from the oven. Stir the mixture: the egg cooks and combines with the butter and hot, melted cheese. Break off pieces of the bread and dip them into the cheese mixture. Now picture hot bread with melted buttery cheese that you eat with your hands, fresh out of the oven – what’s not to like?
If you’ve never sampled these magnificent delicacies, you should definitely join one of my food tours through Brooklyn’s Brighton Beach area, also known as Little Odessa, where we’ll taste at least one kind of khachapuri – maybe even achma, a kind of decadent, buttery, cheesy, lasagna-like (but sans tomato sauce), Georgian comfort food. Tempted? Click on Ethnojunkets at the top of any page on my website for more information; now that the COVID-19 crisis appears to be waning and seasonal temperatures are waxing, my tours will be starting up soon. Hope to see you then!