Okay let’s get something straight first. While many of you may know Georgia the state, did you also know that there is a country named Georgia? Yes, that’s right…a country that’s located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe and has been inhabited since the Paleolithic Era. Joseph Stalin, the ruthless dictator of the Soviet Union was also an ethnic Georgian. But in short, the Georgia of the Caucasus region of Eurasia has no relation whatsoever to the “Peach State.”
I’ve always been fascinated by the many countries that comprised the former Soviet Union, especially those that had just as many ties to Asia as they did to Europe since their history, culture, and especially cuisines were so drastically different from anything you would find west of St. Petersburg. In her memoir, Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking, Anya Von Bremzen does a wonderful job of explaining the significance of what it meant to have countries like Georgia and Uzbekistan being part of the Soviet Union…from a culinary perspective that is (i.e. people in Moscow could try exotic fruits and vegetables along with other foods they had never encountered before).
If I ever had oodles of time and more importantly, unlimited funds, Georgia is a country I would very much like to visit (along with Bulgaria for some random reason). The pictures I’ve seen of the centuries-old Orthodox churches there look amazing and the landscapes so drastically different from anything you would see in Western Europe (remember, sadly I’ve never been “East” of Italy which is pretty silly I know). I’m also pretty sure the food would be amazing too. Generally the cuisines of those countries people know very little about are often the ones that end up blowing them away from a tasting standpoint.
I don’t remember when I first heard about khachapuri, but when I learned that it was basically Georgian-style pizza (it’s also known as Georgian cheese bread), I was immediately intrigued. I love nothing more than trying out variations of foods I’m familiar with from other countries. And pizza is certainly one of them (Argentine-style pizza I don’t necessarily recommend).
While it does take some additional time, I really don’t mind working with yeast and the khachapuri I made last month is now the second time this year that I’ve made homemade bread (the other occasion was the delicious focaccia I whipped up which you can access the recipe for by clicking here). There is truly nothing better than the taste of homemade bread (the smell of it baking isn’t half bad either).
I found a pretty simple recipe for khachapuri over on epicurious which you can get to by clicking here. While sure, I wasn’t able to have my dough perfectly fill every inch of the pizza pan, and I couldn’t get all the cheese 100% evenly distributed from the center’s topknot to the other areas of the dough, it still came out pretty amazing I think and tasted even better. This is a recipe I would highly recommend you to try. Remember, patience and a positive attitude are the keys to successful bread making.
Is khachapuri something you’d like to try? Making it? Eating it? Or both?