Georgian cuisine and Georgian feast leave an indelible impression on all guests of Georgia. The local cuisine is based on simple products, and thanks to the mastership of local chefs, they turn into aromatic dishes rich in flavors. Drinking and dining traditions of Georgians have become legendary a long time ago. Multi-tiered serving, a variety of aromas and flavors, river wine, and long toasts full of humor and wisdom.
We believe that a Georgian-style dinner should become an obligatory part of your wedding trip to Georgia. Why is Georgian-style dinner so special? What is Georgian sufra style serving? What is the best way to combine the European menu with the local one? How many bottles of wine to order for a wedding? We share the experience of our wedding planners in a new article.
What is a Georgian sufra serving style?
Historically, at Georgian feasts, food was served in large portions “on the table”. All dishes were shared between all participants of the feast. The number of dishes often exceeded the size of the table, and then new plates were placed on top of each other. The main figure of any Georgian dinner was the toastmaster, the host of the evening who was responsible for the course of the evening. He created the right mood, determined the topics of toasts, and took care of the peaceful and good-natured mood of all the guests.
The tradition of a lavish feast is still alive today, and we always sincerely recommend our couples to choose this style for their wedding dinner. And although the multi-story serving of dishes gave way to a more restrained European one, the atmosphere of general celebration, abundance, and sincere generosity did not diminish at all.
Why do we recommend Georgian sufra serving style?
To visit a Georgian feast, where the table is filled with food and toasts resemble philosophical parables, is one of the essential elements of any trip to Georgia. We recommend our couples do not miss the opportunity to immerse themselves in the flavor of this ancient national tradition.
Georgian serving will save your guests from curious glances at the outlandish dishes at the other end of the table and will allow each guest to taste everything, compare and choose the best for their taste. You can be absolutely sure that nobody will stay hungry at the Georgian feast. The portions are large, the food is varied and hearty, and the rich Georgian menu will allow you to take into account the preferences of each guest. It has both vegan and dietary options.
When you are preparing for a wedding dinner, it is important to consider that a European serving is much more expensive than a Georgian one. For an individual serving style, the restaurant usually prepares the same set of dishes for each guest. This increases the dinner budget several times. Therefore, when serving in Georgian style, you not only give yourself and your guests a chance to become part of an ancient Georgian tradition, but also cut your budget. This can be especially important for medium and large-scale weddings. In addition, not every restaurant in Georgia offers individual serving, so please let us know in advance if you prefer it.
How to make a wedding menu in a Georgian style?
We recommend making 70% of the menu of Georgian dishes and only 30% of European dishes (such as Caesar salad, Greek salad, Mexican potatoes, and fries). These dishes will also be served in a Georgian sufra style. Ditch Gouda and Parmesan for Georgian cheeses. Several hundred types of cheese are produced in Georgia, so don’t forget to include in the menu cheese plates with 3-4 types of local cheeses (sich as Suluguni, Imeretian, and goat milk varieties).
Ask your guests about allergies and special diet preferences in advance. Georgian cuisine contains a significant amount of dairy products, nuts, and vinegar, so make sure you have enough meals without these for certain guests. Some dishes have variations, so you can order, for example, Georgian vegetable salad with and without walnuts. And instead of meat dishes, order lobio or lobiani (bean dishes) and grilled vegetables.
We would like to note that khinkali are usually not served at feasts, as they are traditionally referred to as simple village food and are not included in the list of festive dishes. In addition, khinkali do not quite correspond to the format of a gala dinner, because meat broth can stain your guests’ evening dresses.
Traditionally, during a Georgian feast, white wine or homemade wine of a delicate amber color is preferred. It has such a characteristic color because it is made according to the ancient traditional technology: wine is stored in clay vessels called “kvevri”, buried in the ground. These wines are distinguished by their richer color, tannins and aromatic notes of dried fruits. This wine also helps to cope with the abundance of food at dinner. Such refreshing wines are especially appropriate for a summer wedding. And for winter, spring, or fall wedding, choose red wines: they will add coziness and help guests keep warm. And, of course, when choosing a wine, you should also focus on the main type of hot dish in your menu: white ones are suitable for chicken and fish, and red for pork and veal.
And finally, in most cases, we order food from the calculation: 1 portion for 3-4 persons and 6-8 pieces of pastry (Imeretian and Megrelian khachapuri, and lobiani) for 6-7 people. Please note that Adjarian khachapuri is served only individually to each guest. As for wine, as a rule, we advise you to take as a basis the calculation of 0.6 liters of the main wine and 0.2 liters of an additional wine per guest.
A Georgian feast is a combination of many factors: excellent mood from delicious food, good wine, warm-hearted company, and a pleasant atmosphere in general. Choosing a Georgian sufra serving, you give your guests not only an unforgettable gastronomic experience, but also a new dining experience, when the line of dishes seems endless, and each of them is so delicious that it is almost impossible not to taste it!