Top Georgian Sweets
If you are already tried the most popular dishes of the Georgian cuisine, it’s time to move on to desserts. When it comes to sweets and national trademarks of Georgia, it’s impossible not to talk about Churchkhela, Pelamushi, Tklapi and Gozinaki. Maybe, they sound a little bit weird and are difficult to pronounce, but they are extremely delicious and tempting staples of the Georgian diet, also helpful if you have cold or traveling for few days and want to take some caloric food with you, what does not needs special temperature for keeping.
Today we will tell you shortly about this sweets, how and what are they made of, where to try and when, what’s the right way of degustation and etc. are you ready for some sweet journey? OK let’s go!
Churchkhela is a traditional Georgian candle-shaped candy. The main ingredients are grape must, nuts and flour. Almonds, walnuts, hazelnut and chocolate and sometimes raisins are threaded onto a string, dipped in thickened grape juice or fruit juices and dried in the shape of a sausage. The traditional technology of churchkhela in the Kakheti region was inscribed on the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Georgia list in 2015. Georgians usually make Churchkhela in Autumn when the primary ingredients, grapes and nuts, are harvested. It is a string of walnut halves that have been dipped in grape juice called Tatara or Phelamushi (grape juice thickened with flour), and dried in the sun. No sugar is added to make real Churchkhela. Instead of walnuts, sometimes hazelnuts or almonds are used in the regions of west Georgia. The shape of Churchkhela looks like a candle. Georgian warriors carried Churchkhelas with them because they contain many calories. Many foreigners refer to it as the ‘Georgian snickers’ but, in reality, there is nothing that tastes quite like churchkhela. Georgia’s eastern region of Kakheti is considered to be the birthplace of churchkhela, yet one can find a similar sweet, called janjukha, in the western Guria region of Georgia. The candy has the same shape as churchkhela, yet instead of walnuts it contains hazelnuts. When travelling throughout Georgia you may come across this eye-catching, sausage-shaped hearty treat hanging in shops on almost every corner, especially in the tourist areas. However, keep in mind that home-made churchkhela is always better than the store bought ones. The price for one churchkhela is around 2-3 GEL (about 1.20 USD). They are all delicious, just don’t forget to pull the thread out.
Pelamushi is a sweet dish that resembles a frozen pudding. It is yet another must try Georgian dessert. In fact it is made in a similar way to churchkhela, the main ingredient is condensed grape juice which is called badagi in Georgian. The fact that even desserts are made from grape juice in Georgia serves as yet more proof that the country is “The Cradle of Wine”. Pelamushi is consumed both warm and cold and in both cases it is simply delicious. For its preparation, you need to boil grape juice with corn flour and sugar until the mass gets thick. Hot pelamushi should be poured into bowls and put in the refrigerator. When the mass hardens it is time to turn the bowls on the plate. Ready pelamushi can be beautifully decorated with chopped nuts and served. Pelamushi is usually prepared by local farmers during Rtveli (grape harvest festival) and Tbilisoba Festival (Tbilisi’s city-wide festival) that takes place in the autumn. When grapes are crushed for making wine the sweet leftover juice is condensed. Another type of pelamushi is Tatara, they taste slightly different and as a rule pelamushi is made with corn flour while tatara is made with plain wheat flour. Traditionally Georgians use the juice of red grapes; the white grapes are used only for weddings – that symbolizes the purity of the bride.
The other very delicious nourishing but at the same time very simple delicacy of the Georgian national cuisine is gozinaki. It is a very special sweet made with chopped walnuts (sometimes hazelnuts, peanuts, sunflower seeds or sesame) and hot-boiled honey. This is the most beloved sweet in Georgia and it’s made only once a year, on special occasions such as Christmas and New Year. Roasted walnuts are mixed with hot honey and then flattened to cool down. When the candy hardens it is cut into diamond shapes and served on plates. If you happen to celebrate New Year in Georgia then get ready to be offered various types of gozinaki at every household. But in case you missed the chance to sample real homemade gozinaki you can buy some at local supermarkets or souvenir shops. This is a symbol of Georgian hospitality and sweet heart!
Tklapi is a traditional Georgian roll-up candy made from fruit puree. It is like an organic lollipop full of vitamins and natural goodness, still made in the traditional way and all of the ingredients are completely natural. The most widespread types of tklapi are made from sour plums tkemali, sometimes of dogwood or other fruits and berries. Some people prefer sweet tklapi, some people prefer sour, it all depends on your personal taste. Either way, as soon as you put tklapi in your mouth it immediately starts melting, giving you some incredible flavors. The best thing about this unusual and extremely delicious sweet is that it can be kept for a long time so you can buy it as a gift for your loved ones at home.
Muraba is essentially a jam – processed sweet fruit, but with a more liquid consistency. Whole, boiled fruits or large slices are floating in the sweet syrup, it might not sound any different from jams you might have tasted before, but Georgian Muraba worth tasting. More popular types are with nuts, figs, and white cherry, which is served at every tea party. Besides all these, Muraba is used for treating colds, as they contain a lot of vitamins. Refers to sweet fruit preserve which is popular in many regions of Caucasus, Central Asia, South Asia, and the Middle East. It is generally prepared with fruits, sugar, and spices. Muraba in Caucasus is made of strawberries, cherries and local fruits. When the Georgians traveled to India, they adapted the recipe to use the local mango, which became a traditional favorite of the Gujarati over the years. Georgians make Muraba once a season and fill their pantries with bottled Muraba.
Chiri is a Georgian name for dry fruits. Locals mostly dry plums, apples, figs and com, but one can even find more exotic local Chiri prepared from kiwi or banana. They cut fruit into pieces, put them on the sun and dry for few days, then they keep it for winter, New Year Eve and Christmas. Chiri was some kind of candy during the centuries and also it is very healthy sweet. When I was a kid, remember how I was stealing some pieces of Chiri from my grandmother. Maybe it does not look so nice but you should taste it at least once.
It’s a spicy bread სweet and nutritious. It has some cinnamon, vanilla, coriander, ground cloves, and sugar. Best Nazuki is sold on the highway from Tbilisi to Batumi, right after the small city – Khashuri. You will not miss them as dozens of women are standing on the road shaking Nazuki in their hands. Every Georgian and tourist alike who passes beautiful Surmai road is unable to resist a good loaf of homemade sweet bread exhibited by the locals in front of their homes. Traditionally, nazuki is baked in a tone, a Georgian cylindrical clay stove, but one can
bake nazuki at home in the oven as well.
Short VerdictAs you see traditionally the Georgians prefer fruits berries, nuts, wine or honey for dessert made იn autumn and winter, also most of them contain wine juice and nuts, what proofs that Georgia is wine cultural and oldest wine making country, In Georgia everything is connected to wine and grapes. But if this sweets and deserts are not enough sweet for you, you always can try some Georgian sweet wines, or Georgian’s compliments will make you joyful.
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Blog By Shota Cherkezishvili