For a small country (approximately the size of West Virginia), Georgia’s food has big flavors. Redolent with spices and herbs such as tarragon, coriander, and thyme, the food is aromatic. Inga Duignan, who co-owns the new Mount Kisco restaurant Badageoni Georgian Kitchen with her brother, Giga Jankarashvili, says the Silk Road introduced flavors from the Caucasus, the Mediterranean, and other parts of Europe to the country’s culinary background.
“Each historical province has its own traditions,” she says, adding that while Georgian food is “rich” with meat dishes, there are also a variety of vegetarian and vegan choices. “Georgians are very hospitable and we love sharing and talking about food,” Duignan says.
Not sure where to start? Here are some of the must-have dishes and drinks to acquaint yourself with the flavors of Georgia.
Last year Wine Enthusiast proclaimed that consumers should be paying attention to Georgian wine. While the names, such as Vaziani Tsinandali (a dry white) and Marani Saperavi (a Cabernet), don’t roll trippingly across the tongue, the flavors of Georgian wines will please your taste buds. You don’t want to miss the qveri, amber wine fermented in clay vessels (Badageoni’s menu delves into the history). For a non-alcoholic beverage, sip Zandukeli — a carbonated Georgian lemonade which is tinted green and flavored with tarragon.
Georgian breads are meant to be shared. And there won’t be any leftovers with the adjaruli, a traditional open-faced cheese boat, often served with a sunny-side egg. The dish might be best described as an inverted calzone filled with fondue. You’re meant to stir up the cheese and the egg, and dip the bread into the mixture. It’s creamy goodness, and you may find yourself swatting away the hands of your dining companions.
Walnuts figure prominently in Georgian cuisine, and this cold appetizer of stuffed eggplant, zucchini, and sweet peppers, is rolled up with walnut paste and a delicious combination of spices. They’re garnished with pomegranate seeds, and served with a Georgian version of cornbread.
Think soup dumplings on steroids. These hearty dough packets are filled with either meat and pork or cheese. The dough is pinched at the top, and you want to carefully take a bite and savor the liquid broth inside. A sprinkle of pepper is a must on this hearty dish.
In one of the restaurant’s signature dishes, lamb is slow-cooked with tarragon, scallions, herbs, until melts in your mouth.
Georgian barbecue is served either on a kebab or with an accompaniment of roasted potatoes, vegetables, and special dressing. In addition to the chicken, which was grilled perfectly, Badageoni also serves pork, lamb, salmon, or a veal-steak options.
Badageoni Georgian Kitchen
26-28 E Main St
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