Wine - pretty obvious right? Georgia is well known for its wine and if you are not restricted by hand-luggage rules, taking some wine is a must. Wine can be found everywhere, especially in the Kakheti region, but if you crave for something interesting and unconventional, try to find some village wine. You can stumble on really bad wines, but you can also get extremely lucky and find a true gem! How to find it? Just ask a local person where to get some good Georgian village wine and magic will start to happen :)
Tea of course! Hop by at Renegade Tea Estate and we’ll make a tour at the tea plantation and a tea tasting at the factory, you’ll also receive a complimentary package of tea! Learn more about our tours here. If you have never heard of Georgian tea before, then head over here to learn why the once famous industry has collapsed and how we are trying to give our part to bring it back to life.
Dried persimmons - looks terrible, but tastes delicious! Usually, churchkhelas are the number one sweet thing recommended by everyone, but we’d like to offer a new and less known alternative. Even though dried persimmons don’t look like the most appetizing thing in the world, we encourage you to try it! One old lady had to persuade us quite some time to try this huge brown thing, but I can promise you, you will not regret it! PS! Dried persimmons are good at the beginning of the year, up until April or so. After that, they get old and dry.
Tklapi or "berry tablecloth” as we call it - it looks like a small round tablecloth, hence the nickname, and it’s made out of berries and fruits. You can find kiwi, apples, plums, tkemali (sour plum), raspberries and so on. The taste is very authentic to the actual fruit. A healthy alternative to all the heavy food you will eat here!
Both the dried persimmons and tklapi you can find at any of the food markets, which are called bazaars here.
Spices - important if you want to try to make lobio or khinikalis at home as well! Walking around the markets, the smell of fresh spices will definitely hunt you down at some point! There are many interesting things to choose from! Here are few things to look for. Blue fenugreek which is called utskho suneli - this is widely used to flavour food in Georgia and is the main spice in the delicious bean stew, lobio. Svanetian Salt - it is a salt mixture made traditionally in the Svanetian mountains. It has a unique taste and is used in cooking and also as regular table salt.
The spices you can find either at the bazaar sold in bulk or at the regular supermarket as well. Our favourite brand so far has been Waime Spices.
Handicraft - is there anything else besides food and drinks? Of course! A good thing to buy from Georgia is local handicraft. There are many options to choose from, starting from jewellery to slippers and to recycled sweaters turned into grocery bags. You can find handicraft in most touristic places, but we would recommend one special company called MySisters which is a social enterprise gathering women artisans in rural areas.
If you are too busy admiring the breathtaking mountains and the beautiful nature and don’t want to spend your time on looking for souvenirs, then don’t worry! If you are flying out from Kutaisi Airport, stop by at our pop-up shop and you can find many unique and cool souvenirs there - tea, tkemali sauce, spices, artisan magnets, notebooks and many other things.
See you in Georgia!