Disclaimer: We take no responsibility for the overwhelming desire for Khachapuri that this article will likely create.
If you’ve ever travelled to the former Soviet Union, either with us or by yourself, you’ll no doubt have come across one of the most iconic types of Georgian food: Khachapuri! If you didn’t happen to try it, then you have our sympathies. If you did, then you’ll likely be keen to know more about this incredible food.
Whether you’re sitting at a fine dining restaurant overlooking Tbilisi or in a dusty mountain hut on the Chechen border, Khachapuri has a presence amongst all sectors of Georgian society and transcends class whilst being equally savoured by all.
On our tours to Georgia and various other Soviet tours, we have most likely eaten our own body weight in Khachapuri tenfold. During this time, we’ve become quite the experts on this iconic Georgian dish. So in this article, we want to share ten incredible and mouth-watering facts about the delicious Georgian cheese bread!
So, Just What is Khachapuri?
Ok, to start things off for those who haven’t tried or seen it yet, let’s cover just what is Khachapuri. Classed as one of the staple foods of the Republic of Georgia, it’s a traditional dish of cheese-filled bread that is found in every corner of the amazing country of Georgia as well as around the world.
Georgian is far from a simple language, but the translation of the word Khachapuri is. In English, Khachapuri translated simply to “bread with cheese”. Simple enough, right? Well, not quite! There are multiple variants of this dish that you need to know about as they’re all very different. But don’t worry, we’ll cover them all in this article.
Across the country of Georgia, you can get Khachapuri pretty much everywhere. And not only in Sakartvelo, but it’s also since been exported by the Georgian diaspora around the world from New York to Moscow and London to Berlin. Wherever it goes, Khachapuri finds a warm place in the hearts of any nation.
There are over 9 types of Khachapuri!
Traditionally, Khachapuri is backed with three main ingredients: leavened bread, cheese, and eggs. But, for a dish as old as the hills, there are well over 9 different types of Khachapuri. This can cause a bit of an overwhelming feeling when you sit down in a restaurant keen to try your first Georgian cheese bread, so we’re going to cover the main variants of this classic Caucasus food!
- Adjarian – This is the most common and stereotypical looking form of Georgian cheese bread and its design has a great story behind it too! I’ve seen YPT tourists try to translate a menu in Georgia and be confused when it reads ‘’juicy egg boat’’ in English. Sounds ominous, right? Well, that’s Adjarian Khachapuri. Shaped like a boat, it originates from the predominantly seaman community of the Lazi tribe. It’s made up of cheese, butter and egg yolk in the middle. These elements are said to represent a boat, the sea, and the sun!
- Ossetian – Also known as Ossetian pie, this form of Khachapuri originates from the now breakaway country of South Ossetia. It’s usually a flat pie filled with potato or cheese.
- Megrelian – Made in the region in and around the unrecognized country of Abkhazia, this is a very common form of Khachapuri that looks like a pizza laden with copious amounts of local cheese.
Khachapuri is Used to Measure Inflation in Georgia
Just like so people use the far-less-tasty Big Mac in the West to measure the average price in countries (otherwise known as the Big Mac Index), Georgians often use the Khachapuri to measure inflation in different cities across the country from Tbilisi to Zugdidi. Commonly known as the Khachapuri Index, it was created by the International School of Economics at Tbilisi State University.
Over 175,000 cheese bread were eaten during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics
In 2014, the Winter Games were held in the Russian Black Sea port of Sochi. With Georgia only a proverbial stone’s throw away, many Georgian ex-pats and migrant workers flocked to the city to take advantage of temporary work opportunities that came with the Sochi Winter Olympics. With them, came copious supplies of Khachapuri. A supply that was given a warm welcome by attendees of the game.
A warm welcome is probably an understatement. Throughout the event, it’s said that over 175,000 of these beloved cheese bread were consumed during the game. An incredible number that is actually understandable if you’ve ever been to Sochi. It’s far from a cheap city and the classic fast food of the Georgian cheese bread would have made a quick and welcome respite from overpriced restaurants.
27th of February is National Khachapuri Day
You just know food is good when it has its own day dedicated to its very existence. Of course, Kachapuri has just that. Every year on the 27th of February, the dish is celebrated as Georgia’s signature food as well as to promote around the world where it’s enjoyed in various other countries. The day was created by the Gastronomic Association of Georgia.
It’s Found in Various Corners of the World
The former Soviet Union aside, the Georgian diaspora is huge and has expanded to various countries across the world. With the Georgian nation went Khachapuri. As a result, you can find it in Georgian restaurants as far afield as New York and South America. The biggest cluster of this iconic Georgian food abroad, however, is in ex-USSR states.
From Kyiv to Vladivostok and Bishkek to Syktyvkar, the Kachapuri has found a home in various corners of the old Soviet empire. One of the culinary benefits of the Soviets was the mixture of various ethnic foods across different cultures. This iconic Georgian cheese bread is a prime example of that.