Sunday, October 24, 2010

Lovely cheese!

Georgian food sometimes reminds me of The Loch Ness Monster -- everyone has heard of it, but practically no one outside Georgia has ever actually seen or tasted it. In the case of Georgian cheese, that doesn't change even once you get to Georgia, where the most popular type of cheese by far is this: PA230782.JPG

This cheese dominates every supermarket, hole-in-the-wall food shop, and farmers market that I've visited. I'm not exactly sure what it's called, but it's a very salty cheese with the texture of hard rubber, and to be honest, I'm not really a fan. I bought a hunk of this stuff after about a week in Georgia, and it's so salty that I still haven't managed to finish it off (I'm getting really, really close). Luckily, it seems to keep well. Being saltier than the Dead Sea probably helps.

Anyway, I've been on the lookout for other Georgian cheeses, since, like Nessie, they're supposedly out there...somewhere. I haven't really had much luck, however, until now. This weekend was Tbilisoba, which is a festival held by Tbilisi to celebrate itself, as far as I can tell. It's standard festival stuff: face-painting, concerts, magic shows, balloons, carnival games, and so on. But Tbilisoba has a Georgian twist, because there was also plenty of wine, and even a cheese expo! I made a beeline for the cheese booth first thing in the morning, and it was great--every cheese I sampled had a unique flavor and texture, none of which were really anything like I've ever had--one tasted almost like wine. I'm not a cheese connoisseur, but I'm a pretty big cheese fan, and this was some seriously good cheese. Maybe not quite as cool as seeing the Loch Ness Monster would be, but then, you can't eat Nessie.

Here are some photos; if you're particularly interested by any type of cheese, leave a comment and I'll do my best to transliterate the label so you can Google it (although some of them are in English already).


1 comment:

Hannah Chazin said...

The icky, salty cheese looks suspiciously like what is called lori cheese in Armenia, and is equally ubiquitous. What I've found is, while it is never really all that great, the quality varies widely, even form the same shop, so you may have bought something more on the icky side of the spectrum.