Gamarjoba to all.
Last ‘Georgia’ post coming up from MB & MB2s recent trip to Tbilisi, Georgia. This time it’s food and drink.
The Georgians have one of the oldest wine-making traditions in the world, stretching back some 8,000 years. And when MB started blathering on about wine on Day-1, he soon got put in his place by a knowledgable local. Even MB knows it’s unwise to tackle somebody who has an 8,000-year head start! Thereafter, MB shut his gob and kept his focus on consuming Georgian wine. Instead of talking about it!
The history of wine in Georgia is intertwined very much with the history of the country. Wine was consumed on the nights before battles and the Georgian equivelant of ‘Cheers’ to this day is ‘Gaumarjos’ which means ‘to victory’, harking back to those days of battle. And when your region was invaded by Persians, Ottomans, Mongols, Russians, and a few others, there were battles aplenty, and surely gallons of Gaumerjos!
There are wine shops around every corner in Tbilisi. The wine, like everything else, is great value. The average wage in Georgia is USD 300 to 350 per month, but everything is relative, n’est pas. For most visiting tourists, it’s pretty fair to say that a great holiday can be had with lots of activies and dining out for a relatively small sum.
Georgia is also famous for its food. MB and MB2 didn’t have an average meal during the entire trip. The Jazz Cafe in the Old Town became a favourite for breakfast. Many cafes, restaurants and hotels make their own wine, red in particular; dry or sweet, being the choice mostly offered.
As MB and MB2 are relatively seasoned travelers, they did some homework before they arrived. A local food tour was chosen for the afternoon of Day-1, booked through the local Gamarjoba Tour Company, which MB and MB2 also used for their day trip to Armenia, the subject of an earlier MB POST. On previous food tours that MB and MB2 have taken in other countries, the routine is similar; one eating experience after another. But this one was different, good different, not bad different. It was far more than a food tour, mixing some sightseeing with some cultural explanations and the telling of tales of Georgias’ history, like how the Georgians got their land – another recent POST from MB.
The food tour ended with a cooking class and great meal with a local family, where MB, MB2 and the host family consumed the products of MB/MB2s efforts. Michelin 3-Star, as readers will have expected!
Big thanks to guide Beka for a great tour and a great day overall. If any readers are thinking of taking a similar trip, then MB highly recommends checking out the Gamarjoba Tours options.
Some memories of the day: