Gaumarjos! Salt from Svanetia and wine from amphorae
In Georgia, one should quietly go to the cellar for a laugh. "No bad humor is allowed in the amphora cellar," jokes Mamuka Japharidze, pouring a glass of Kisi Qvevri from the Chelti winery - an amber-colored white wine that tastes both smooth and very aromatic of pear, quince, sea buckthorn and honey. A perfect companion to nuts, cheese or other strong food.
"All our wines are natural wines or clarified with natural filters," Japharidze explains. Natural wine means that the wines are not filtered, but the mash settles. This is the case with Qvevri wines, which are a Georgian specialty: The grapes are fermented with the skins for months in clay amphorae - the qvevris - stuck in the ground. The soil keeps the temperature constant. After that, Chelti's Kisi Qvevri is separated from the mash and then matures in an amphora for another year.
The cradle of wine
The process is 8,000 years old, because what many people don't know is that "Georgia is the cradle of wine," stresses George Avaliani, marketing director of the Georgian Rural Development Agency. In general, Georgia, this small country south of Russia, situated between the Black Sea and the Caucasus, with its many treasures is still far too little known in the West. "But we are here at Green Week, among Europeans, and every bottle of wine and every other product here are our ambassadors for our shared values," Avaliani says.
It is mainly young producers who are represented in Hall 11.2 Georgia. Like Tamar Kvaratshkhelia, Georgia's youngest honey producer at 26 and one of the few women in the business. She exports her honey to London, Kuwait and South Korea, now also has body care in her range and is currently developing honey cakes. Or Tamazi Kakushadze, who produces pure cherry and grape juice without added sugar, as well as vodka in five flavors, and provides work for refugees with his company Khilari.
Spices from the Caucasus
A total of 15 manufacturers and the tourism authority are exhibiting in Hall 11.2. In the show kitchen, chef Mamukel Gorelashvili, who runs a Georgian restaurant in Estonia, prepares Georgian specialties for tasting every day starting at lunchtime - delicious hot khachapuri bread, for example, filled with mildly spicy melted cheese. Or dumplings with meat, eggplant with walnuts, spinach paste with nuts.
If you want to bring the taste of Georgia into your own kitchen, you can buy salt from Swanetia: a spiced salt with garlic, coriander and red pepper, among other things. Or the classic spice mixture Khmeli suneli from the Caucasus. Also unusual is the "Jara Chunk Honey" - a honey from wild bees. The hives are located in the forest and are shaped like hollow tree trunks.
And what you should definitely try, says George Avaliani: the Chacha (pronounced: Dschatscha), a Georgian grape brandy - "like Italian grappa, but more intense, stronger and more aromatic," found at the Riravo stand. "Drinking helps," says a sign there. Well, cheers! Or in Georgian: Gaumarjos!
Visitors will find the taste of Georgia in Hall 11.2.