|Michelin star rated chef in Tbilisi: Making the most of Georgian ingredients|
Imagine salty caramels, cep candies and wine on crushed ice. This and more is possible when you mix fresh Georgian ingredients with creativity.
Proving that Georgian products are a perfect match for high-end cuisine was the aim of last Sunday’s charity dinner at the Adjara Restaurant at the Holiday Inn hotel. The event raised funds to help sponsor a two-week apprenticeship for a Georgian chef at Michelin-rated chef Claude Bosi’s London restaurant Hibiscus.
Bosi and master of wine Isabelle Legeron were invited by the Georgian National Tourism Agency to organise a dinner where Georgian ingredients would be key. Pomegranates, sunflower oil and nadughi cheese among others were used in original and tasty combinations. They were enhanced thanks to the kvevri wines selected by Legeron.
Legeron and Bosi spent a few days searching for products in markets all over Georgia. They were so impressed by some of their findings that decided to modify the original menu to include them. In Kakheti, for example, the feeling of sunflower oil came as a pleasant surprise. It went perfectly well with the nadughi cheese and 2009 Anaga Saperavi wine, which through its salty caramel taste brought the best of the nadughi – sunflower combination..
“Leave your preconceptions outside and open your mind.” This is how Legeron announced a desert consisting of sweetened ceps and pomegranate sorbet. This was a perfect illustration of how the event aimed at showing how versatile Georgian ingredients are. This is not the first attempt to show how much potential these ingredients have. Chef Tekuna Gachechiladze wants to show how cutting edge Georgian cuisine can be thanks to the freshness of its products. Gachechiladze wants to introduce new textures and presentations, ingredients and techniques in a deeply rooted gastronomy that is matter of pride for Georgians: “I want to use local ingredients, such as tarragon or tkemali but mix them differently.”
Local products, dishes and wines are being promoted overseas by the Georgian National Tourism Agency to attract visitors to the Caucasian country. Last year, Isabelle Legeron’s documentary about Georgian wines attracted attention all over the world. Wine lovers were appealed by the singularity of the kvevri, an ancient technique to ferment wine in clay pots buried beneath the earth.
Maia Sidamonidze, chairwoman of the Georgian National Tourism Agency, told Georgia Today how much potential Georgian wine has. “We want to position our kvevri wine in a deluxe market, specially addressed to wine experts and specifically segmented for people who can pay for it.” Sidamonidze also said that by promoting the production and export of kvevri wine producers would benefit and more people would be interested in learning how to make kvevri.
by MJ Riquelme del Valle