Georgian sweets are full of nuanced, flavorful surprises featuring fresh fruits and locally-sourced honey. Make sure you leave room for these amazing Georgian desserts!
The unofficial, official candy of Georgia. Churchkhela is dried fruit, seeds or nuts dipped repeatedly in tatara (a flour, sugar, fresh grape concentrate mixture). After it dries, you get a delicious, fruity, caramelized treat.
It is known that Georgian soldiers used to eat churchkhela before going into battle. Eat them fresh from one of the many vendors who’ll be selling them on the street. You can’t miss the colorful hanging confections.
This is another fruit-based dessert that is also great for anytime snacking. Tklapi is fruit pulp puree that is cooked, spread thin, and then left out to dry for a couple days. Kind of like a fruit leather, but bigger, better, and more flavorful.
The most commonly used fruits are figs, pears, plums, apricots, and mulberries. You can marvel at the array of colors laid out.
Grapes are a staple in Georgian cuisine, as evidenced by the country’s ancient wine culture. And pelamushi makes grapes the star! This gorgeously-colored, scrumptious dessert is made with condensed grape juice that often comes fresh from a family’s rtveli (autumn harvest).
The juice is heated with sugar and flour until it becomes a thick mixture. They’re often poured into molds, giving them those beautiful iconic shapes. This is one of the most common Georgian desserts found in restaurants. Check it out at Gabriadze Cafe in Tbilisi.
Gozinaki are dried nuts (often almonds or walnuts) that are drizzled with honey and left to caramelize. After they set into a crunchy texture, they’re usually cut into a diamond shape. You can find these year-round, but they’re most often enjoyed as a homemade treat around Christmas and New Year.
There are 2 types of kada: salty and sweet. What binds them together is their universal adoration, especially by Georgian children.
Kada is hard to pin down. It’s part pastry, part bread, part hand pie with dough made of butter, flour, and sugar. Each region of the country will have its own twist on the recipe. You can find these commonly in cafes and bakeries. They’re often enjoyed for breakfast and make a great snack when you’re on the go!
Kaklucha (Orbeliani Royal Candies)
In contrast to many of the prior desserts which have cherished homemade recipes passed down for generations, kaklucha are actually quite difficult to find and more difficult to make. Simply described they are walnuts and caramelized sugar, but the flavor has much more depth than that.
The creator, Mariam Orbeliani, was the daughter of a famous Georgian poet who kept the secret recipe of the Orbeliani Pearl tightly under wraps. You can find these at Cafe Leila in Tbilisi.
Nazuki is a spicy-sweet Georgian bread made with cinnamon, vanilla, coriander, ground cloves, and sugar.
The best place to find this is on the side of the road. Head towards Batumi and you will pass by the small towns of Surami and Khashuri. It’s said that they have a special matsoni (yogurt) here that makes their nazuki especially delectable. You can’t miss the ladies waving their bread as you pass by.
Medok is Georgia’s take on a honey cake, derived from the similar Russian-style medovik. Both consist of layered sponge cake made from butter, sugar, flour, eggs, and honey. Between those layers is a generous cream filling meant to soften the texture.
The main difference between Georgian and Russian medok is that in Georgia they prefer milk cream whereas in Russia they use sour cream.
While we often associate sweets with happy occasions, Tsandili (aka korkoti/kolio) is traditionally reserved for funerals and mourning. Because of this, it’s a rare find.
Muraba is essentially jam but a bit more liquid and often with whole pieces of fruit submerged. You can spread it on another dessert to enhance the fruity flavors or eat it on some sweet bread. Common fruits it’s made with are fig, strawberry, and wild cherry.
Georgians love to fill their pantries with homemade muraba when fruits are in season.
After reading this list, it’s no surprise that Georgians cherish their fruits. Chiri is any kind of dried fruit, but most commonly plums, apples, figs, or persimmons.
And that’s it for our roundup of top Georgian desserts and treats you should try. As many of these are homemade specialties, you could try your hand at making a few of them at home. Check out the Georgian Journal for authentic recipes.