As long-time readers of TFD know, I am a zealous advocate of Georgian food (the proud country of Georgia as opposed to the equally proud state, whose food I also love).
There are several Georgian recipes already listed on TFD, and here is the latest and perhaps the most well-known outside of the country: khachapuri, aka Georgian Cheese Bread!
Think of khachapuri as a calzone (but made of bread) and you’re not too far off – it’s stuffed with local cheese that is like a very tangy mozzarella and in some cases finely chopped nuts and spinach. There is an even more famous version of khachapuri made in the Ajulia region that is open-faced – the recipe is here.
My version includes all of these and the proper cheese mix (after much experimentation) to replicate Sulguni, (Georgian: სულგუნი) which is the Georgian cheese used in this recipe. It has a tangy, moderately salty flavor, a dimpled texture, and an elastic consistency.
According to a 2009 survey, 88% of Georgians prefer khachapuri to pizza. As a Georgian staple food, the price of making a khachapuri is used as a measure of inflation in different Georgian cities by the Khachapuri index, developed by the International School of Economics at Tbilisi State University.
The dish achieved cult status outside of Georgia during the difficult Soviet years of Russia and the other members of the USSR. Moscow in particular had a dreary food scene, but the one bright spot were the few illicit and privatized Georgian restaurants that sprang up.
Bread being a Russian favorite, Khachapuri became a celebrated dish throughout the USSR and remains so to this very day in Russia. For example, it was reported that 175,000 khachapuris were consumed during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
Finding real khachapuri in the U.S. and in most places is nearly impossible since the cheese is so hard to replicate. Since my version hits the bullseye, please do try this recipe and feast upon this delicious ex-patriate from Georgia! 🙂
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