Taste this savory Georgian-style cheese, which is used to fill traditional light and airy Georgian-style flatbread. The name of this cheese is – Tenili and it is made of cow milk. Tenili cheese is a National Cultural Heritage of Georgia and everyone in the Samtskhe-Javakheti region is proud of it. It can be found inside puff pastry which is sold on the open market.
If you are traveling in Samtskhe-Javakheti there are a number of places where you can taste and also take part in making Tenili cheese.
This is a real hidden gem of the culinary experience of the Samtskhe-Javakheti Region!
Aluda Jvaridze, a farmer from Aspindza municipality, started rehabilitation of Meskhetian Odas (houses typical for this part of Georgia) a few years ago. He enjoys living in the village and today manages Agritouristic Farm “Meskhuri Oda” in Chobareti Village.
“I think that we should follow traditions and keep them for the future generation. I try to save money in order to keep them alive… Some years ago I moved to the city but came back to the village. In the city, time flies quickly and here time is slow, accordingly, I have more time to do things” – says Aluda. Aluda owns livestock in the village, producing Meskhetian, traditional Tenili cheese. He remembered a nearly forgotten cheese-making tradition since childhood. Aluda decided to revive this tradition and established a small enterprise in the village.
Today “Meskhuri Oda” is an agritourism farm, hosting tourists who can stay to enjoy the Meskhetian culture and hospitality. Farm vegetables and fruits are natural. Here people can observe the Meskhetian Tenili cheese and bread-making process. Hosts make Kada, Apokhti, and Meskheian Khachapuri using a more than 2,5 centuries old Meskhetian bakery called “purne”.
For visiting Aluda, you should contact hosts directly.
Monastery Food which is called – “Monastris Nobati” in Georgian is a joint product of three monasteries located in the old village of Meskheti – Ude. These three monasteries produce a variety of products such as wine, meat products, honey, bread, snail products, and handicrafts. One of the most distinguished out of these three monasteries is Ude Nunnery where visitors can taste traditional Meskhetian dishes, wine, dishes from snails, and many others. All of these are prepared by sweet nuns of the monastery.
Ude Nunnery started making wine in 2010. Gradually they developed the products and today they make dry meat (jerky) varieties called “Apokhti” in Georgian. They produce “Apokhti” from pork, beef, chicken, and duck. Moreover, nuns have their own snail farm and you can taste original dishes from snails prepared by them. Marinated snails in lovely jars are among them.
In 2020 as a result of a hard-work and initiative by the Archimandrite Grigol who is a lead priest of these monasteries the first Meskhetian vineyard was built in Adigeni Municipality. They planted nine varieties of grapes such as Tamari Vine, Black Aspindzuri, Meskhuri Mtsvane, Kharistvala, Klertmagari, and so on. Monastery wine is made by nuns and monks using their original secret technology. This technology and the composition of the wine pass through the generations.
Along with the products, during 2017-2019 Ude Nunnery also designed a nice degustation place for visitors. Usually, if you have a chance to sit at the table together with Archbishop Grigol you will witness many interesting stories about Meskheti, wine, grapes, and so on. Besides degustation, you can purchase the Monastery Food and take it with you and remember about your trip every time you taste it.
For booking, you should call the lead nun of Ude Monastery, Mother Sidonia.
“I have spent much of the past decade traipsing through mountain forests in search of ancient grapevines growing the way nature intended — up to trees. I have found some vines that are more than 100 years old and one that I reckon is more than 400 years old” says Giorgi Natenadze.
While searching local vine varieties, Giorgi has uncovered 40 rare grape varieties in the forests in the south of the country, near the border with Turkey. He identified 24 of them so far. In 2009, Giorgi restored the tradition of winemaking in Meskheti region, where centuries ago the Ottomans destroyed valuable local grape species. From this period Georgy poured the first Meskhetian wine, which is made in a qvevri using traditional Georgian methods of winemaking, and as he considers, it was the first winemaking also for the Meskheti (Samtskhe-Javakheti) region.
Today Natenadze’s Wine Cellar produces 14 types of red and white wines and the citizens of 11 countries of the world have the opportunity to enjoy unique Georgian wine. Giorgi’s wines are very harmonic and tasty with low alcohol and well-balanced acidity. Each year he makes a different wine from these ancient varieties. Giorgi uses organic processes, dry-farming all grapes manually with no irrigation used. Natenadze combines the curiosity to rediscover forgotten knowledge, the passion to revive lost traditions, and the ability to bring all this to new, younger target groups in a modern, contemporary way. The labels of his wines are designed in street art style and speak a fresh and unconventional language.
Apart from winemaking, Giorgi developed a gastronomic facility in the historic “Rabati” district, where authentic Meskhetian dishes and wine takes a leading place. He is a member of the Georgian Gastronomic Association and takes the opportunity to participate in the world’s largest gastronomic exhibitions and competitions.
For booking arrangments at Natenadze’s Wine Cellar and restaurant in Akhaltsikhe contact Giorgi.
Zaza is an entrepreneur and owner of a brewery in Aspindza. He produces Amphora beer in traditional Georgian Amphoras (Kvevri). Initially, beer-brewing was Zaza’s hobby. He was brewing beer at home for family and friends. Later on, he turned his hobby into a business and established a small beer enterprise in 2017. As Zaza tells, they brew beer by using their own technology. Liquid stays in Kvevri for two weeks, which gets the so-called “green beer”, an immature beer that is poured into tanks.
The company is using high-quality ingredients that define beer quality. They produce eight types of different light and dark beer, whose taste is absolutely different from each other.
Besides beer, in 2020, the company created a new product – malt bread, which is considered a zero-waste product. The malt that remains during the brewing of beer is used in baking.
In 2021, Zedgenidze’s family opened the Brewery House Hotel. Guests enjoy an unlimited amount of locally brewed amphora beer, malt bread baked in a traditional Meskhetian oven, local cuisine, and of course a unique beer spa!
For booking, arrangments contact Zedgenidze’s family via Facebook by phone.
For the Mumladze family, wine-making was a family tradition for centuries. His ancestors used to make wine, moreover, they were good clay masters and their “qvevris” were well-known throughout the region. According to Davit Mumladze the family still preserves old items once used by his grandfather. They use them to show their story to visitors. The family business is led by father and son – Gia and Davit Mumladze. They admit that they have inherited the love of wine and wine-making from their ancestors.
Five years ago the family decided to turn their hobby into a business. They have arranged a wine cellar in the basement of their family house in the village of Atskuri. Each year they have added more renovations to the house. This year the first floor of the house was completely renovated. They returned it to the old authentic style. They have installed nine “qvevris” and arranged a degustation place where visitors can taste wine and at the same time listen to the family story of an ordinary Meskhetian man. At this moment they have “Saperavi”, “Rkatsiteli”, “Kakhuri Mtsvane” and “Muskati”.
Mumladze’s wine is very popular not only within the region but also outside. They consider it their responsibility to follow in the footsteps of their ancestors. In the future, they plan to extend the business and restore and preserve Meskhetian traditions related to wine.
To contact Mumladze’s Marani you should directly contact Davit Mumladze.
Niko Khachapuridze is managing his wine cellar with his family in the village of Kvabiskhevi, Borjomi Municipality. It is an old Georgian traditional-style cellar from the 19th century. Meskhetian fireplace, the oldest wooden winepress, and Kvevri are given particular importance to this place. A wine cellar is included in the Wine Map of Georgia and is pretty popular not only within the region but outside too.
Father and son started making wine in 2015 and since that year they are hosting guests from all over the world. You can taste varieties of Georgian and European wines such as Chinuri, Goruli Mtsvane, Rkatsiteli, and Pinot. The wines are made according to the Georgian tradition. Besides the wines, the family produces Chacha and offers masterclasses on traditional Meskhetian cuisine. Visitors can engage in the cuisines masterclasses and bake bread in Meskhuri Purne or make Mtsvadi themselves.
Khachapuridze family has designed the Marani as a museum where you can find a large diversity of weapons, vessels, and other traditional items, such as carpets, agricultural and winery tools, as well as different handmade items.
The family of Khachapuridze is famous for its hospitality. As an additional service, you can enjoy your visit along with listening to traditional Georgian folk songs.
Visitors can try traditional wines, taste delicious food and get more information about winemaking in this region.
For visiting Khachapuridze Marani you should contact directly Niko.