The history of the Country of Georgia is the history of struggle for freedom. A struggle to preserve its deep-rooted culture and traditions of hospitality and culinary delight.
Its history goes back to the time of antiquity. In the famous Greek myth “Argonauts,” the hero visits Colchis (present-day western Georgia) to obtain the Golden Fleece. Their culture heavily revolves around winemaking and is one of the most ancient wine-producing regions. It is here that archeologists recently uncovered evidence of winemaking that dates back to 6000 BC.
The country of Georgia sits at the crossroad of Europe and Asia, a vital strategic position. In 66 BC, lusting after its grape-yielding lands and strategic location, the Roman Empire sent Pompeius to conquer the land. Although this occupancy did not last long, it is for the same reasons the subsequent invaders vied over its territory. From the Arabs to Mongols to the Russian and Soviet empires, this country has been through many invaders. Yet they managed to survive and preserve their culture and independence.
Along with its history, the geographical disposition has significantly influenced the development of the local cuisine. Located at the eastern end of the Black Sea and on the southern flank of the Greater Caucasus Mountains. This mountain range protects Georgia from cold air intrusions from the north. Additionally, the constant influx of warm, moist air from the Black Sea creates a subtropical climate on its western coast. Eastern Georgia, divided by the Lesser Caucasus Mountains, has a climate ranging from moderately humid to a cold semi-arid.
Regardless of what the Georgians went through, they remained true to their core. With their unique cuisine and friendly nature, Georgian hospitality is legendary, as reflected in the supra feast. The supra is a type of communal dining where everybody is invited. The Tamada heads it and has one duty, to make sure everybody has enough to drink, eat, and is merry!
Click on one of the zones to explore to learn more about how these different factors influenced the development of cuisine throughout Georgia.