Georgian food is well-known for its diversity but something this country can really be proud of is cheese. Georgia produces more than 250 types of cheese – it’s difficult to imagine Georgian supra (feast table) without it. So it’s not surprising at all that Georgian cheese has been listed among top ten cheeses on the world cheese map. Cheese is also the essential ingredient for one of the most famous Georgian dish – Khachapuri.
There are too many sorts to choose from but the most common Georgian cheese is Imeruli (as the name suggests, this one is made in Imereti, the region in the western Georgia). This is mild cow’s milk cheese. Usually it’s a fresh sort of cheese, an ideal companion for any salad and young white wines. Imeruli may have a sour taste if it’s aged – in this case it can be paired with full-bodied wines.
Sulguni is another popular cheese in Georgia. It is usually compared to mozzarella but it’s much creamier in texture. Sulguni has a sour flavor and almost melting consistency. It’s great for almost anything – it can be served with salads, also Ghomi – a famous Georgian dish or on its own.
For cheese aficionados there are more interesting and nuanced sorts of Georgian cheese that can offer unusual flavors and unforgettable taste. You might want to try Guda Cheese (not to be mistaken with Gouda) which is made of sheep’s milk and aged in a bag which is made of sheep’s skin. Due to this technology Gudis Kveli has quite a pungent flavor and can be paired with traditional Georgian wines made in Kvevri. You will also be impressed with Tushetian Chogi – another cheese made from raw sheep’s milk in the mountains of Georgia. It’s aged in a wooden cask, not in a bag and then placed in the sun for drying. Chogi has a very specific flavor as well.
If you like delicacies, Tibaanuri cheese ought to be part of your repertoire for sure. Before it’s matured it’s deeped in Saperavi – Georgian red wine, which results in a very piquant aroma and taste. After it gets dried Tibaanuri develops noble mould – we recommend not to pair this cheese with anything to fully enjoy its unique, exquisite flavor.
Tenili cheese is another sort you might want to try while in Georgia. The milk it is made of must have a high fat content. Eventually, Tenili should be stretched into thin strands and dried on a pole. Tenili is unsalted and kept in special pots. Its making process is quite long and complicated so Meskhetian people were preparing it only for special events.
So if you want to make your trip unforgettably delicious don’t forget to order a Georgian cheese plate. And of course, don’t hesitate to try Khachapuri too – a good example that the Georgian worship cheese above all else (well, except wine).