Tag Archives: Georgia

Seylanovs Brothers House in Tbilisi

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Museum of Tbilisi

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Once a karavanserai, the place of trade and crafts, the building of the Tbilisi Museum kept the inner court design and the adjacent spaces in an organic way. You feel as you walk into the tinsmiths and silversmiths workshops, potteries and seamstresses atelier, enamelers, carpets weaving, ceramicists and other workshops of the many heritage crafts on this land.

The high glass ceiling lets the light get in. A luxury probably unknown to the visitors of the karavanserai centuries ago. Tables covered with traditional tablecloths welcome visitors to try some of the local delicacies.

I could not but notice a traditional (for those times) Kurdish female costume next to a traditional Jewish women outfit. Quite telling.

I was a bit jelous of women back in the days when their cloths were delightfully embroidered. M Dior would have also appreciated it, I think.

Also, I discovered that in 1930 Tbilisi had an electric tram. Makes me wonder about our definition of progress…

Do visit the Museum, a few steps away from the historic centre of Tbilisi and let the staff show you around – you will enjoy it.

“Flight from the USSR” by Dato Turashvili

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I read the book in one go. The novel is a take on the airplane hijack happening in 1983 in soviet Georgia. I was in kindergarden at that time in Soviet Moldova and obviously knew nothing about such brave people and most tragic events happening across the Black Sea. You had to be brave to undertake a plane hijack in USSR at that time. The group of young persons who undertook it in November 1983 had different personal and political motivations to embark on it. The loss of lives which it brought is telling of the methods the authorities used at those times. The storming by spetznaz of a plane where there were already wounded passengers, crew members and highjackers was part of “most humane justice system”. Same goes for a forced abortion of a young women arrested as a member of the group of dreamers who moved into action.

If you are looking for a recount of events, you might want to read the declassified files of KGB and other documents. This is a work of fiction inspired by events and the characters and their courage are romanticised. The stance of their parents, renown inteligentsia of Georgia, is depicted with a dignity that resonated with my parenting approaches.

To me the central character is the monk – Father Tevdore. He was condemned and executed for a crime he has not comitted, for actions he was not part of. It was very handy for the authorities to put the blame for such an anti-soviet act on a person of Christian belief. Father Tevdore – only 33 years old – took the blame in the hope that authorities will spare the younger people. He believed in humanity till the end and his last gesture of love was to arrange within the walls of the merciless prison for a last meeting between the newly weds of the group Tina and Gega right before the day of Gega’s execution.

I felt sad after having finished reading the book. Yet, these stories must be told and read, for this is how we stand a chance of remembering what matters most.

OtsY restaurant in Tbilisi

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OtsY was on my list of “to be discovered” in Tbilisi. What better occasion than Tbilisoba to do it!

I sat on the terrace and enjoyed the views to the oldest still-standing church in Tbilisi – Anchiskhati Basilica – to my right, and to Gabriadze marionette theatre to my left. Soft music in the background just enough to let you immerse in a calm atmosphere.

I let the choice of wine in the knowledge of locals. It enchanted. Vazisubani Estate collection Kisi white dry wine was a perfect choice for my choice of meal thanks to its aromas of peaches and quince. For a starter, I ordered the Georgian salad. It surprised my taste buds with freshness of herbs, balance of flavours and generosity of proportions. The heirloom pink tomato, cucumbers, red onion paired divinely with a sublime coriander sauce.

For the main course I went with an Eggplant achma. Those familiar with the Georgian cuisine know achma – the generous cheese buttery pie. The eggplant version will satisfied the buds of any seasoned vegetarian. Layered roasted eggplant, tomato jam and Sulguni cheese, topped up by finely minced herbs of the season.

For dessert I went for a ristretto and Chocolate Crémeux with Poached Cherries & Almond “Gozinaki” – perfect balance of textures and bitter-sweet flavours to finish my meal with a memorable delicate after taste. Compliments to the chef and the kitchen!

The service is impeccable: quiet, smiling, warm, no rush- no hustle, always in control, and spreading gratitude and generosity. I warmly recommend it and wish every success to the team of OtsY!

Tbilisi Gastroweek

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Tbilisi Gastroweek

I’ve been to gastronomic festivals in couple of countries. You usually get a programme, with a starting time, and with precise times to know when and where which chef will be cooking. @Tbilisigastroweek lured us with interesting announcements and we chose to go on 1 October, because of the promise of a seeing chefs cook and tasting meals from different countries, which set it apart from my previous “chefs of the country where the festival is” kind of thing.

So, when due to traffic we arrived 20 minutes into the event, people were gathering slowly in Ciskari by the Turtle Lake. Good, Georgians do not keep it according to schedule, I thought. We had no programme, and no one around seemed to have one. There was wine and cheese and churchkhela to welcome guests. Two hours or so into the event, some images appeared on the big screen and a chef took his place behind the table. Thanks, they obliged with an English power point and I could understand who that was. My initial bother about what seemed like a delay to me and unforeseeable sequence of the workshops retreated under the influence of a glass of Georgian wine and the majestic calm of walnut trees under which the tables were set. And I got to enjoy this “no rush no hustle “ type of organisation, because there was clearly an organisation to it. The scenery of the nearby Turtle Lake added to the rhythm of going with the flow.

I will not go into all presentations and demonstrations. Those curious can see it all on Tbilisigastroweek social media. The workshops started with Chef @Tekunia who introduced the Georgian chef Guram @Chvenirestaurant.

Chef Guram and his team made for us Street food Pork and red beans stew/ pickled Staphylea with homemade mayonnaise/Georgian “nadughi” mint cream cheese topping.

Chef @Maksutaskar from Turkey @Neolokal restaurant in Istanbul gave a lecture about Anatolian cuisine and the things we share. Very valuable in a world of division. I loved the concept he introduced – “Mothers’ nation “- a concept of transmission between mothers and daughters (and sons), beyond borders and nations. The image of him and his mother was heart-warming. He also shared another type of maps – a culinary map, to look differently perhaps at the world we see. He advocated for cooking as a tribute to tradition mindful of adding sustainability to it.

Congratulations to the team of @Tbilisigastroweek for their first such event. Keep organising them, in your own unique style. We will gladly oblige.

Happy Holidays!

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Eat, dance and fold some khinkali!

Starring: Christmas tree in the front of the Parliament, decorations on Rustaveli avenue, chechelaki (Georgian traditional tree), Sukhishvili ballet dancers, and khinkali.