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Taste of Georgia

A Little Taste of Georgia

26th March 2019

One of the many, many reasons why Georgia is so popular here at the Wild Frontiers office, and indeed with our clients, is the food.

Perhaps better known as one of the world’s oldest winemaking areas, Georgia’s colourful cuisine is not to be missed. With subtly spiced but flavourful stews, hearty, cheesy breads and fresh vegetables and salads, Carla Capalbo, award-winning food and wine writer and photographer, described it as ‘exotic yet familiar’.

Carla’s book, Tasting Georgia: A Food and Wine Journey in the Caucasus, is more than just a recipe book. It’s a personal travel guide from her journey across Georgia and the stories she gathered from the hospitable food and wine producers who generously invited her to their dinner tables.

It became our book of the month last year when it also won a prestigious award, and now Carla has allowed us to share one of the delicious recipes from her book.

If you’d like to get a taste of Georgia for yourself, check out our group tour - Tastes of Georgia: Culinary Tour with Carla Capalbo.

Walnut Paste - Nigvzis Sakmazi

“This recipe is a cornerstone of much Georgian food, particularly in the central and western parts of the country,” says Marina. “Each family has their own favourite recipe for it but the basic ingredients are good fresh walnuts, herbs, garlic and some spices. It’s used on all sorts of vegetables, stirred into stews, and is a delicious condiment to have in the fridge to liven up hard-boiled eggs, cheese or cold meats.” Use this as the basis for your own signature walnut paste, adding extra chilli, garlic, salt, herbs or spices to taste.

In Georgia tradition decrees that the walnuts should be pounded slowly by hand with the garlic and spices in a mortar and pestle, but a good processor makes an easy second choice if you don’t have a good mortar.

Store the paste in an airtight jar in the fridge for 1-2 weeks, pressing a piece of plastic wrap right onto the paste to stop it oxidizing. You can also freeze this paste in small batches for later use.

For a great dipping sauce combine 120ml / 4fl oz / half cup fresh pomegranate juice (the juice of about two pomegranates with 120ml / 4fl oz / half cup of the paste.

Makes about 240ml / 8fl oz / 1 cup
Preparation 10 minutes

150g / 5oz / 1 and a half cup walnut halves
12g / 1/3 oz / 3 garlic cloves, or more to taste
Half tsp coriander seeds, crushed
A quarter tsp ground fenugreek
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp chopped mint
3 tbsp chopped coriander/cilantro leaves
1 tsp minced dill
Fresh chilli, to taste
Quarter cup water
Combine all the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until you have an even paste. Some dishes are best with a more granular mixture while others call for a smoother texture – there are no rigid rules.

Store tightly wrapped with plastic wrap in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

You can also freeze small batches of the paste, wrapped in foil for quick use at a later date.

This paste is quite concentrated and should always be loosened with a little water before being used, so follow individual recipes to see how much liquid is required.
© Carla Capalbo

Hayley Cleeter

Hayley would have to thank the multi-culturalism of London for first sparking her interest in travel. She remembers dressing up in saris from India, e…

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