Historically, Meskheti was known as the granary of Georgia, as it was the country’s main supplier of wheat, flax and legumes. The bread varieties of Meskhuri Shoti, Lavashi, Somini, and Kakala are all spread widely in the region. Although bread is not the only delicacy made from wheat in the area. Meskhetian Kada and Khachapuri, are salty or sweet porridges, and they also have Khinkali, made from dried pork, beef or duck meat, which is similar to Jerky. All these dishes are typical of Meskhetian cuisine.
If you ask a Meskhetian to name one thing from the cuisine that they are proud of, you will definitely hear “Tenili Cheese”. This type of Georgian cheese is found in Samtskhe-Javakheti and Kvemo Kartli. It is usually made from sheep’s or cow’s milk because it requires a high fat content. It is quite a difficult process to create, needing a great degree of strength and patience. However, the final result is delicious for both the eyes and the mouth. That is why Tenili Cheese is a hallmark of Georgian culture and heritage. In the villages you can observe the cheese-making by everyday families or go to authentic places which offer masterclasses for this unique cheese making.
Samtskhe-Javakheti has historically been an old and well-known wine region of Georgia. Today, it is one of the smallest wine growing areas in the country but also the home of some very unique grape varieties. The region is considered the cradle of Georgian wine-making and numerous varieties of grapes have migrated across the country from this very region. However, many of them are considered almost extinct today. While historically a center for wine production, the region is just now revitalizing its long lost wine making traditions.
Meskhetian cuisine can speak a lot about the history, ethnography and culture of the region.