Traditional Megrelian cuisine is known for its exotic and spicy notes. In the past, the mild, subtropical climate was conducive to malaria. To prevent and defeat the dangerous disease the people of Samegrelo learned to use many bitter and hot spices including a lot of chili. Consequently, bitter spices became the traditional feature of the Megrelian cuisine. The signature dishes of this region are: Megrelian Khachapuri, Elarji (boiled maize corns with cheese), Smoked Sulguni cheese, Kuchmachi – (Georgian gizzard and liver filling), fried meat in a spicy sauce (such as adjika – a very bitter sauce), Kharcho (chicken/beef and walnut soup, a classic Megrelian dish) Gebzhalia (kneaded Suluguni cheese in mint, which is placed in Matsoni – sour milk) and Satsivi – a thick sauce made from walnuts and served cold. Fragrant sauces and sun grown fruits are very popular. In autumn houses in Samegrelo are decorated with red garlands drying kaki fruits.
Sulguni is a brined Georgian cheese from the Samegrelo region. It has a sour, moderately salty flavour, a dimpled texture, and an elastic consistency; these attributes are the result of the process, as is the source of its moniker, to pickle the cheese. Its color ranges from white to pale yellow. Sulguni may be produced from normalized milk of cow, buffalo, or a mix of these milks. It matures in just one or two days.
The Megrelian sulguni is considered one of the best cheeses of Georgia, it has a higher fat content than the cheeses from other areas. The other secret of the delicious taste of Megrelian sulguni is the flora which is extremely rich in minerals and which causes that cow milk from this part of the region to be especially tasty. There are also different types of sulguni cheese, the fresh one called “chkint”, it is soft, saltless and very similar to mozzarella cheese, chkinti is basically the first step towards making real Megrelian sulguni. Chkinti is cut into thin pieces and put into boiling water or milk for about 5 minutes. After boiling sulguni can be formed in any shape, marinated in salty water so that it changes its consistency and becomes harder and salty, this kind of sulguni is called “tsatkhe” .You can try also smoked sulguni which has one of the best tastes of Georgia.
Don’t forget that sulguni is an important part of Megrelian cuisine, you can find it in “ghomi” cornmeal, where sulguni is usually added while serving, “elarji” cornmeal made with sulguni itself, megrelian khachapuri, where you can find sulguni inside and on the top of it and many more dishes.