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TUSHETI

Feast With The Mountain Gods

Photo: Badri Vadachkoria

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High above Kakheti’s Alazani Valley is a secluded Shangi-La of snow-tipped peaks, ancient settlements clinging preposterously to the sides of mountains, rolling meadows and rushing mountain rivers. This is Tusheti, land of the Tush, courageous mountaineers famed for their horsemanship and bravery on the battlefield. It is also the wildest and one of the most ecologically unspoiled regions in the Caucasus, linked to the lowlands by a formidable road open only in the summer months.

We explore Tusheti through the people maintaining its standout mountain food culture, a heritage infused with pagan traditions, natural ingredients and old world know-how. We will also have hands-on experiences helping to prepare the foods we put on our tables, visit imposing villages of stone and meet venerated locals for a culture fix that includes their tales of mountain life.

This is a new project I am working on with gastrotours.ge, a newly formed culinary tour company with exclusive itineraries that plunge deep into the heart of regional Georgian cuisines for truly one-of-kind travel experiences. 

 

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About The Food

Tush are sheep herding people, the animal is the backbone of its cuisine. We will encounter milk-based products like guda (named after the sheep skin it is aged in), chogi and kalti cheeses, along with  totori, the local khachapuri. 

 

We will be among the few outsiders to experience shepherd’s choban kaurma, slow roasted lamb buried in the ground.  There will be kaghi - dried lamb (or beef), marinated lamb lavashura and no trip to Tusheti would be complete without gobbling mrgvali puri - Tushuri khinkali.

 

Salads are made from foraged greens such as wild leek, nettles and chervil. There will be breads like khmiadi and gordila, a bagel-like boiled roll, and sweetbreads like kumeli. We will wash all this down with mountain herbal teas, Tushetian beer and of course, highlander’s chacha.

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Photo: Badri Vadachkoria

About Our Hosts

Nugzar Idoidze is a Tushetian ethnologist, historian and writer - a living encyclopedia on all things Tusheti.

 

Dr. Irakli Khvedaguridze is an 83 year-old doctor who lives in Bochorna, the village’s only year-round resident, making it the highest populated settlement in Georgia (2,345 meters). He stays to provide medical care by horseback for the handful of locals who spend the winter in the isolated region.

 

Darejan Itrakuli is a native of Shenako and noted cook who sometimes dreams of original dishes and then creates them with local wild ingredients.

Our base camp will be the modern, 43-room Hotel Samzeo, Georgia’s first totally solar-powered hotel.

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Our Itinerary

JUNE 21 - 24

 Day One:  Road Trip to Omalo

  • Depart Tbilisi 7:00

  • Shop at Telavi bazaar for provisions.

  • Lunch break on the breathtaking Abano Pass

  • Check in to Samzo Hotel in Omalo

  • Dinner & Masterclass - Tushuri Khinkali and Kotori (Tushuri khachapuri)

  • Conversations and drinks with Nugzar Idoidze, local ethnologist, historian and writer.

Day Two:  A Tushetian Supra

  • Keselo Towers in Zemo Omalo

  • Village of Kwe - prepare choban kaurma 

  • Lunch in Dartlo 

  • Visit villages Kvavlo and Farsma

  • Tushuri Supra - main course choban kaurma

Day Three:  Top of The World

  • Villages of Dochu and Bochorna 

  • Lunch with Dr. Irakli Khvedaguridze.

  • Visit Diklo

  • Shenako - Masterclass with Darejan Itrakuli and supra on top of the world

Day Four:  Back to the Lowlands

  • Relax in Omalo before the ride down

  • Kakhetian dinner in Telavi

  • Tbilisi

Price: $765 per person
For booking contact paul@meetmeheretbilisi.com

 
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