Monday, March 28, 2016

Friendship, food, and dancing, Georgian style

The connections my family re-kindled and made while in Georgia were filled with warmth, dancing, singing, wine and long toasts of appreciation. I want to use this post to share about Georgian food, friendship, and dancing through photos and videos. Every night our hosts in every city treated us to all of the Georgian food there is and taught us how to dance. We drank wine and chacha! I haven't even mentioned chacha yet?! Chacha is a brandy which is also called "grape vodka" and we were offered shots of this everywhere we went. Georgians love their cheese and bread, too. Eggplant and pomegranate seeds also make it into many dishes. The best way to eat at the table is for the plates to keep stacking on top of each other for everyone to see just how much food the table has eaten! And of course, the whole night is devoted to making long toasts led by a toast master.

Remember how everyone has their own wine?
Valeriy called his first wine #1 for his first grandson. Roma.
First lunch complete with Georgian cheese, salad, bread. Reminds you of Turkish breakfast, no?
on the left: Soup Kharcho which was my favorite - a lamb soup.
on the right: Khashi soup - a tripe soup
I love pickled cabbage.
Savva drinking chacha and wine with locals at the Dry Bridge Bazaar.
Nothing like day time chacha shots with strangers who welcome you quickly.
That time we drank wine and ate cake at a dental office.
Beka's mom, me, Eteri, my mom, Tamara (Tamara's daughter)
You won't understand it, but we are the Tverskiye Gruzini.
Churchkhela is a traditional Georgian sausage-shaped candy.
The main ingredients are grape must, nuts, and flour.
Churchkhela and fruits sold in Tbilisi
First dinner with the Russians and Georgians.
Valeriy and Eteri really took great care of us.
The danced, sang, and ate together 30 years ago, now for a repeat.

Learn to dance in Tbilisi

Delicious eggplant rolls with walnuts sprinkled with pieces of pomegranate.
Badridzhani nigvsit
Every night is a night to celebrate friendship, love, and Georgia!
Cornmeal producing mechanism
Nothing like a private tour of this Georgian restaurant in Tbilisi

Khinkali - Georgian dumplings. They are huge!
Masha and Savva!
When all the kids went out together and the parents cried from joy.
Long lost sisters. Tamara and Dasha.
Fun times on the Bridge of Peace
Savva and Eteri getting ready to dig into khachapuri in the Ajarian style.
Bread. Cheese. Egg. Dig in.
Khachapuri in the Megruli style
Meat was a rarity at the table. 
This is elarji a cornmeal/Sulgani cheese dish. It is delicious.
Wine, tarragon drink, and Georgian food in Ankalia.
Masha playing with elarji.
Toasts with the drinking horn
Vepha drinking white wine like a boss.
Women do not drink from the horn.
The dancing begins!
Vepha gave me a run for my money with his dance moves!

Below are photos and videos of the Erisioni Ensemble and Choir performing at the Tbilisi Concert Hall. Enjoy they costumes and how the men jump and dance with swords, while the women exude elegance and poise with every movement.


Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti Region of Georgia

The view at the Enguri Hydro Power Plant (Enguri HPP) [Photo by my dad]
Valeriy & Dad at Enguri HPP in the 80s
Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti was the 4th of the 9 regions of Georgia that we visited on our 8-day Georgian exploration. This region has quite the variety in flora and fauna from the palm trees by the Black Sea to the snowcapped Caucasus mountains. We visited serene Tsalenjikha and the resort town of Anaklia and finally got to see the Black Sea while in the region! My dad spent a month in Tsalenjikha in the 1980s to visit Valeriy and had many fond memories of  the good times he had with Valeriy and their friend Vepha. I am including some old family photos because they are fun and why not include them!
Enguri HPP
The gang at the Enguri Hydro Power Plant (Enguri HPP)
Enguri HPP and the Enguri River
Enguri HPP
Enguri HPP
Enguri HPP
Vepha gifted my dad with a traditional Georgian robe.
The ladies from Moscow.
Vepha and my dad reunited after over 30 years.

Tsalenjikha views
Tsalenjikha - population: 8,900
Sisters near epic trees in Tsalenjikha
Tsalenjikha Cathedral built in 12th-14th century
Jenya and my dad next to Tsalenjikha Cathedral
in the 80s!
Tsalenjikha Cathedral
Tsalenjikha Cathedral
Tsalenjikha Cathedral
My dad with Vepha and his mother in Tsalenjikha in the 80s. 

Valeriy's old house in Tsalenjikha.
We were all very excited to take photos with grapes!
Grapes and cows in Tsalenjikha
Ankalia is a small resort town on the Black Sea. We arrived at sunset and because it was November we thought the city was abandoned! But in fact, it was just not the summer bikini season. The town looks a bit strange without sunbathers as you will see by the empty architecturally diverse hotels and restaurants. When we were still living in Russia, we spent most of our time living in Sochi, on the Black Sea, because of my dad's music and show. I don't remember it very much since I was 5 when we left, but returning to the Black Sea gave me a sense of the familiar and familial.

Sculptures in Anaklia
Sunset over the Black Sea in Anaklia
Interestiing architecture in Anaklia
More interesting architecture
Not our hotel
Sunset over the Black Sea

Masha finally got to skate in Georgia!
Savva trying to skate in Anaklia while Masha looks on.
Big dinners are a must!
Elarji - cornmeal with Sulguni cheese. YUM!
Toasting with the drinking horn
My mom probably toasting about love or friendship.
Vepha and my dad 2015
Vepha and my dad circa 1984

Until next time Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti!