Learn about the gooey, cheesy, bread that is the national dish of Georgia and a growing global phenomenon.
What is Khachapuri?
Khachapuri is a cheesy, pizza-like bread made with yogurt or yeast-risen dough. Although fast-food is not so popular in Georgia, a quick grab-and-go of a steaming hot khachapuri is the next closest thing.
Sulguni is the most frequently used cheese, a salty, slightly sour cousin to mozzarella. It also has an elastic texture that melts well.
Khachapuri can be a snack, a meal, street food, or homemade. There are also several variations of shapes and ingredients depending on the region.
Why is Khachapuri So Significant?
You may be hearing more and more people abuzz, talking about this “Georgian cheese bread.” What is so important about baked dough? Well, khachapuri is more than just a well-loved dish. It’s a national icon.
In 2019, it was granted Intangible Cultural Heritage of Georgia status. In other words, Georgians consider it so dear that they want to protect and preserve the tradition as part of their country’s heritage.
It’s also an index of inflation. Economists in Tbilisi have coined the measurement: the Khachapuri Index. Essentially, they calculate the cost of buying the ingredients in GEL (Georgian Lari) and compare it to the cost of buying similar ingredients abroad.
Types of Khachapuri
This is khachapuri that comes from the Imereti region (which includes Tbilisi), and it is the most common one you’ll see. It features a round shape and is filled with salty Imeretian cheese – fresh cow’s milk cheese similar to sulguni.
Where to Eat: Old City Wall Restaurant – Tbilisi
The Adjarian region is in the southwest of Georgia and borders the Black Sea. It includes the city of Batumi. Being that this is a coastal region, the Adjaruli Khachapuri is appropriately a cheese boat.
It is baked in a brick oven and then a generous slab of butter and a raw egg is added inside. To eat it, bits of bread are broken off and dipped in the gooey center. Only once all the bread is eaten, may silverware be used.
Achma Khachapuri contains layers of dough with cheese in between. It more closely resembles a lasagna.
Where to Eat: Amra – Tbilisi
Ossetian Khachapuri features a potato and cheese filling. It’s also known as khabizgina, and the ingredient list reflects the region’s close proximity to Russia.
Where to Eat: Duqani – Tbilisi
Similar to Imeruli, but more cheese is melted on top.
Where to Eat: Dadiani Restaurant – Tbilisi
The only difference here is the shape. Rather than a circle, Rachuli Khachapuri dough is cut in a square and then folded over the center like an envelope.
The distinguishing factor here is the dough. Rather than a chewy dough, a flaky, layered puff pastry is used.
Where to Eat: Lagidze Water – Tbilisi
Khachapuri Shampurze is not associated with any particular region. It is primarily a restaurant dish with bread dough wrapped around skewered sulguni cheese.
Where to Eat: Kapiloni – Telavi
These are so distinct from typical khachapuri that some don’t even consider it one. They look more like a calzone, and are filled with cheese and a hard boiled egg. These “Gurian pies” are usually only eaten once a year, on Orthodox Christmas.
Sick of all the khachapuri talk? Check out other traditional Georgian dishes you need to try.