I went on a tour billed as the “Food, Wine and Culture Tour of Georgia” and did it live up to its billing. We travelled with a group of interesting people across much of the country seeing everything from the capital city to small family vineyards. We travelled with very knowledgeable tour guides.
The wine part of the tour involved both drinking many varieties as well as learning about the ancient and traditional methods of making it. As for food, we never went hungry. There were chances to try many different foods and styles of cooking. Breads, cheeses, meats and vegetables were in constant supply. Sometimes we dined informally and on two occasions had a very formal meal in the Georgian tradition. Of course there was wine with the meals.
We experienced an enchanting singing style and folk dancing during one of the feasts. Other cultural activities included museums, ancient churches, visiting monasteries and open air markets. One scene that sticks in my memory was passing a country funeral procession. That can’t be planned but showed us Georgian traditions unchanged by modern times.
We stayed in a variety of exclusive hotels, from the more simple high the Caucus mountains to quarters meant for Russian naval officers. In all cases, the hospitality of the people was evident.
For me, the last delight came six months after I left Georgia. I see TV host Anthony Bourdain dine in the same restaurant we had one of our formal feasts in.