The blend of Georgian taste and odour
Friday, August 6
There is no one cuisine anywhere on this planet, that has the plethora of variance in tastes and flavours as well as compositions of ingredients that produces such marvelous dishes as the Georgians have in their uniquely delicious and multivaried cuisine.
Georgian cuisine uses many familiar products but as a result of the varying proportions of its obligatory ingredients such as walnut, aromatic herbs, garlic, vinegar, red pepper, pomegranate seeds, berries and other spices combined with the traditional secrets of the chef's art, the common products tend to acquire a special and unique taste as well as aroma. This all makes Georgian cuisine very popular as well as unique - the hallmark of Georgian cuisine. Georgian national cuisine is most notable for the abundance of any and every possible kind of meat, fish and vegetable hors d'oeuvres, varieties and kinds of cheeses, pickles and many pungent spices and seasonings that are truly one of a kind.
In an area of the world where hospitality is paramount, Georgians are the epitome of hospitality! They respect guests and are naturally friendly and generous when entertaining, most especially in their own home. They give parties in honour of certain respectable people, or for special events like a wedding, a birthday, a house-warming, Christmas, Easter, etc. The Georgian table is conducted in a wise manner in accordance with ancient ritual.
Songs must always accompany Georgians in joy and in sorrow, in battle and in labour much like the Celts of whom the Irish are most renowned. Special songs for drinking and for marriage as well as their famous chants full of humour, sung by guests during parties in a rollicking contest. It may sound odd but often events of social, economic and political significance are discussed at the table, and thus some problems are solved peacefully. The atmosphere at the Georgian table is so friendly and candid that even enemies are likely to make up. If there is enough room at the party you must take part in folk dancing. In these dances men always act as gentlemen and are very polite and respectful to the ladies.
The whole ritual is subject common rules. The word reigns over the Georgian table. A Tamada (toastmaster) should undoubtedly be an eloquent and intelligent person. At the Georgian table the tamada bridges the gap between past, present and of course the future. Custom has it that not only the guests, but their ancestors and descendants are present at the table. A toastmaster, the Tamada toasts all of them with the same love and devotion as those physically present at the table. He conducts the table according to the order set out by our ancestors. First of all, he must toast the hosts and wish them happiness, longevity, success and reproduction. Elaborate and magic words seem to help a toast-master to establish contact with the Heaven. All wishes expressed in a toast are usually accompanied by direct appeal to God: "God help us in all our deeds!"
One of the most important toasts is a toast devoted to the memory of deceased ancestors. Having poured some wine on bread, the toastmaster prays God to be merciful to the souls in the other world. But you shouldn't expect a toast to the deceased to grow into mysticism. Georgians consider this world and the world of the afterlife to be an indivisible entity.
When drinking some toasts all men have to stand up and drink wine in silence. A toast can be proposed only by a toastmaster and the rest are to develop the idea. Everybody tries to say something more original and emotional than the previous speaker. The whole process grows into a sort of oratory contest.
The tamada arranges breaks in the eating and drinking from time-to-time. There are special toasts which according to the ritual must be accompanied by a song or a verse. Almost everyone in Georgia has a good ear for music and a good voice. Old Georgian drinking songs are melodious, polyphonic and rather complicated. Some need no accompaniment. The choir of men creates musical background. Modern drinking songs are usually performed to the accompaniment of a guitar or a piano.
Love, life, friendship and other abstract notions are subjects of eloquent toasts at the Georgian table. Every speaker tries to express his personal understanding of these notions. When a person is toasting, the rest are listening to him with great attention and respect. The revelry never grows into an unrestrained drinking-bout.
Wine has been always been considered by Georgians as a symbol of strength and beauty, keeping our spiritual balance thus always filling us with stamina. Georgia is rich in wines and it has been the pride of Georgian people cultivating it for centuries as well as loving it as they love their own children.