Grapeless in Tbilisi

At this time of year Georgia’s vines are heavy with ripening grapes. Last year the vine in our garden had produced enough grapes to make wine. However, my regular ‘pruning’ has meant that it has failed to produce a single grape this year. I now realise that in my enthuisiasm to maintain a ‘tidy’ garden I may have ‘over-pruned’ it. A picture of last year’s September vine is on the left and this year’s is on the right. Spot the difference!

The tall person confirmed my expert opinion and announced that we will not be able to make wine this year and if we want to eat grapes we will have to buy them. Buy? I really had not realised the repercussions of ‘pottering around’ in the garden. This just confirms that my decision to retire from gardening was the right one.

Anyway, when De and the tall person went shopping yesterday they bought some delicious black grapes from a roadside fruit seller and they generously shared them with me.

Don’t worry tall person, next year we will have many grapes on our vine and you can have lots of squashy fun treading on them to make another vintage Chateau Bassa. Cheers!

Say cheese!

Sulguni is a very popular curd cheese that has been produced in Georgia for centuries. I like it a lot. It is made from cows milk and has a soft and springy texture and a slightly sour, salty taste. It is a favourite ingredient in Georgian cuisine, most commonly in the famous Georgian cheese-bread called khachapuri. It is great in salads and can be added to practically any dish which requires a mild melted cheese. De says it is perfect for pizzas and I agree!

De will always ask to taste a cheese before she buys it and will reject it if it is not perfect. Sometimes, she will go to three or four or more cheese stalls before she finds one she likes. The tall person says it reminds him of women buying shoes!

Tbilisi’s markets have mountains of these disc shaped cheeses but you can also buy them in little shops or from kiosks like the one in the photograph below and from old ladies who make their cheese at home and sell it to passers by in the streets.