Georgia – vegan-friendly God’s land
Georgia is a dream come true! A place full of beautiful landscapes, open-hearted people where it’s rather hard to get bored. It’s a country you definitely shouldn’t miss out! In particular, if you’re from Europe. It is too close to not to book a cheap flight from Wizzair and set off to the country of people who live closest to the God! Yeah, there are some theories, not sure if common among Georgians but definitely among visitors. 🙂 So, when God was handing lands over to the people on the Earth he forgot about Georgians. Since there was nothing left, he felt bad and found out the only solution would be sharing his own land with them. So, Georgia is actually God’s land. 🙂 And it is, indeed. Another thing is that it is a mountainous country, the higher you live, the closer to the Heaven you are…
Talking about the Heaven, well, if you are a food lover you will definitely find your Heaven in Georgia. As the majority of Caucasian nations Georgians are fond of meat but it doesn’t mean they don’t have vegan-friendly options. What is more, I guess Georgia is one of the easiest countries to get by as a vegan. At least, among those were veganism is not really popular. The reason why I think so is the fact that Georgians are supposed to be very religious people, so they fast. According to the religion which seems to be kind of strict, a faithful should fast on Wednesdays and Fridays as well as during the Lend and Advent. Of course, there are few who follow these rules, nevertheless it’s a very handy information since the majority knows what fasting and lenten food mean. Fasting in Georgian Church means more than just to eat vegan, but this is not the subject of this post. 🙂 In brief, lenten food in Georgia is 100% plant-based. Good news, isn’t it? If you go to a restaurant and in the menu you see something which is lenten/постный(postniy) you can have it. If by coincidence you meet some locals who insist on inviting you for a dinner, you just need to tell them you are fasting and they will understand (of course not at first shot, but at least they’ll grasp the idea:)).
Some vegan meals which you could try:
Lobiani (ლობიანი) – bread with kindney beans inside, something that can be found almost everywhere!!! You can order it in a restaurant, in this case it’s thiner and more similar to pizza and you can also get it in one of plenty of pastry shops where it’s made to be eaten in a hand. Usually lobiani is round but I have seen oblong ones as well.
Lobio (ლობიო) – kidney beans soup, usually spiced with coriander.
Pkhali (ფხალი) – I love it! It’s kind of salad made with different vegetables: beetroots, spinach, carrot, cabbage mixed with ground walnuts and some spices.
Ajapsandali (აჯაფსანდალი) – a vegetable stew with eggplants, potatoes, tomatoes and seasoning.
Badrijani (ბადრიჯანი) – eggplants with walnuts, eggplants with garlic
Mchadi (მჭადი) – cornbread (not everybody likes it, it shouldn’t be alone since it’s a bit dry and tasteless)
Pirozhki (buns) with mashed potatoes – Russian invention also common in Georgia, can be found in pastry shops
Tolma – grapeleaves stuffed with vegetables, although not really common
As I have already mentioned in Vegan&Vegetarian Armenia in Tbilisi there are some nice vegan/vegan-friendly places.
The first one on my list is Luca Polare a great coffee house famous of its delicious ice-creams. All the fruit flavours are vegan! Depending on the season they have pomegranate, melon, sour cherry, grape, cornel, feijoa, sea-buckthorn tastes! You can also find 2 vegan cakes: apple strudel and cherry tart. And of course, coffee with soya milk. Great variety of teas and shakes. It’s got 5 branches in Tbilisi. One of them, the oldest and the smallest is located in the very centre of the city!
Georgia’s first non-profit vegan community, KIWI is a small bistro with vegan dishes, cakes and sometimes homemade drinks located close to the Liberty Square. It opened just before I was leaving so I didn’t have much time to get to know it as well as in case of Luca Polare. It’s nice to know that it exists nevertheless with such a variety of vegan-friendly dishes almost in every restaurant I think it’s not sensible spend money in more expensive vegan places.
Last but not least, if you want to eat good and affordable you should visit Samikitno, a chain restaurant which is easy to find.
INFORMATION FROM 2014/2015, CONFIRMED BY MY FRIEND WHO IS THERE RIGHT NOW (JUNE 2016)