There are a lot of different traditional dishes and desserts in the Caucasus region that might be interesting for you, but let’s have a look at the most popular Christmas holiday dishes of the Caucasian people.
Khachapuri in Georgia
Khachapuri known as a simple cheese inside of the bread is the most famous dish in Georgia, not only for holidays but anytime. There are different types of khachapuri depending on the region and cheese. In Georgia, there is a big amount of cheese taste and that’s why every Khachapuri tastes absolutely different. But the most common include traditional Georgian Sulguni or they called it Imeretian cheese, because of the Imereti region. In foreign countries where you can not find Sulguni, it is possible to also use mozzarella cheese.
Khachapuri is shaped into different forms (circular, square, boat) but the most famous is a circular one because it is easy to share it with others. The second popular is Adjaran Khachapuri, the open-faced version topped with butter and a raw egg on top, it looks like a boat, and better to taste it in the Adjara region, of course in Tbilisi too, but local people do it with different power and tradition.
Most people consider it as a snack, but Khachapuri can often be a full meal, for family, friends, and everyone. There are no Georgians who do not like Khachapuri and everyone will be glad to teach you how to bake it.
Gozinaki in Georgia
Georgian national cuisine is full of tasty meals, but less known for desserts. Especially in the New Year holiday Georgian people mostly eat dishes with meat. But they do have one special dessert known as a Gozinaki. It is a traditional Georgian dessert with a crunchy texture, made with honey-fried, caramelized nuts such as walnuts and hazelnuts.
This sweet is often cut into diamond, square, and circular shapes, and it is a tradition to make it on Christmas and New Year. Tradition also says that every Georgian should make Gozinaki always at home with their kids and teach them the recipe, of course, some people buy already made ones, but still, it is a tradition that will last forever.
Ghapama in Armenia
The dish is always prepared between Armenian Christmas and New Year, or on other similar festive occasions, but especially during autumn, and winter when pumpkins are in season. Once cooled, Ghapama is served whole or sliced up in wedges, each appropriately sized as an individual portion. Don’t forget to taste it in Armenia!
Armenia is also very famous for its unique cuisine, but the most famous dish in the holidays is Gharana. The popularity of the dish is so great it even has its own song titled «Hey Jan Ghapama». It is traditionally prepared by stuffing a pumpkin with rice, nuts dried fruits, butter, honey, and sometimes cinnamon, but there are also some recipes calling for meat, which is less popular in Armenia.
Shah Pilaf in Azerbaijan
Shah Pilaf is a traditional Azerbaijani meal, also popular in Georgian cuisine, but with some differences. Shah Pilaf looks like a cake, but inside you will find a tasty surprise. It is not easy to cook, because it goes through a number of stages before reaching its final shape. First steps: rice is cooked, then placed inside a bowl lined with lavash (lavash is a thin bread mostly used for Shaurma). Second step: layers of dried apricots, plums, chestnuts, and raisins are added on top of the rice to create a unique flavor.
The filling is completed by pouring a small amount of saffron water into the bowl, after which it is covered with lavash and baked until brown. There is an interesting fact about this dish, it can remain warm for several hours and that’s why it is a favorite at weddings, dinner parties, and other special occasions, like New Year celebrations. While visiting Azerbaijan you should go to the wedding and taste this unique dish.
Anoushabour in Armenia
Anoushabour means sweet soup or sweet porridge in the Armenian language. We also can call this dessert a Christmas pudding, because it looks like pudding. Anoushabour more than decades is on the table for Christmas and New Year’s Eve in Armenian culture. The skinless whole wheat is always cooked separately or with various fruit and spices until it develops a porridge-like consistency.
Once prepared, it is served in a big bowl and can be garnished with different nuts and juice. You should definitely taste this unique traditional dessert of the Caucasus region.