Expert Picks: 4 Reasons to Fall in Love with Georgia (VIDEO)

Expert Picks: 4 Reasons to Fall in Love with Georgia (VIDEO)

Georgia is one of the world’s undiscovered travel gems – a fabulously beautiful country that claims to be the place where the wine grape originated; that invented one of only a few world alphabets; and that has a proud, cultured, and high-spirited people with a long tradition of showering lavish hospitality on guests.

Combine that with astonishing architecture and stunning scenery and you have a modern-day Garden of Eden, overflowing with wine and abundant culinary flair – everything you could wish for in a destination.

We love the spirit of Georgia, and over three decades of experience crafting tours to this compelling country in the South Caucasus have gained an insider’s knowledge of what to do, see, eat, and drink while you’re here. 

That’s why we created a special culinary and culture-focused small group tour dedicated exclusively to Georgia called A Taste of Georgia: Wine, Cuisine & Culture.

Designed by MIR Vice PresidentAnnie Lucas (who’s fallen in love with Georgia over her many visits to the region), the tour celebrates the history and living traditions of this ancient country through its chefs, winemakers, artisans, and musicians.

Listen as Annie shares her reasons to travel to the gorgeous Republic of Georgia, all of which you can experience on A Taste of Georgia:

1. One of the World’s Oldest & Best Winemaking RegionsGeorgia is arguably the oldest wine producing area in Europe, with time-honored traditions that date back some 8,000 years. Even today, traditional Georgian winemakers still ferment and store their wines the old-fashioned way, using giant earthenware vessels called qvevri.

A toast in Signagi, Georgia. Photo credit: Mariana Noble

A toast in Signagi, Georgia
Photo credit: Mariana Noble

Once the grapes have been harvested and crushed, their liquid (along with the skins) is poured into the qvevri, which are buried up to their necks in the earth. After fermenting for three or four months, the resulting wine is bottled. Flavorful, natural, and complex, Georgian wines are making a name for themselves in the international world of wine. In 2013, UNESCO elected Georgia’s qvevri method of winemaking to its List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

2. Sumptuous Food & FeastsGeorgian food is some of the richest and most varied cuisine on the planet, and nowhere can you sample more of the country’s classic fare than at a Georgian Table feast, with dozens of dishes and countless toasts served over the course of several hours.

Georgian Table Feast, Signagi, GeorgiaPhoto credit: Douglas Grimes

Appetizers at a Georgian Table feast, Signagi, Georgia
Photo credit: Douglas Grimes

The table is covered with plates of delicacies balanced on top of each other – chicken in crushed walnut sauce, khachapuri (a savory cheese pie), puff pastries, juicy little meat dumplings called khinkali, salads and marinated vegetables, just to name a few.

A large feast, or supra, will have a toastmaster, called a tamada, who is charged not only with toasting and inviting others to toast, but with telling stories and jokes and sometimes leading songs.

A performance at the Georgian Table Photo credit: Michel Behar

A performance at the Georgian Table
Photo credit: Michel Behar

3. A Culture of Boundless Creativity & HospitalityGeorgians are a warm, welcoming, and generous people with an unmatched reputation for being fabulous hosts, imaginative chefs, creative artists, and open-hearted friends. Guests in this part of the world (especially international visitors) are considered a blessing, and no expense is spared to make sure everyone leaves with full bellies and brimming with euphoric cheer.

Beyond fine wines and fabulous food, Georgians are deeply proud of their ancient song and dance traditions, and it’s not uncommon to see someone at the dinner table burst into song or hop up and dance wherever they can find room. Georgian dancing is buoyant and energetic, making it exciting to watch, while the country’s harmonically rich and intriguing polyphonic vocal music can raise the hairs on the back of your neck.

The Georgian Military Highway winds through jagged mountains and valleys in South CaucasusPhoto credit: Martin Klimenta

Lost in wonder at the church of Tsiminda Sameba in Kazbegi, Georgia
Photo credit: Martin Klimenta

4. Bold Architecture & LandscapesNestled in shadow of the Caucasus Mountains, Georgia’s stunning and surprisingly diverse landscapes have been called some of the most beautiful on earth. Steep, arid mountains and rolling hillsides are dotted with ancient stone watchtowers and fortress-like churches, evidence of the harsh battles and the daily difficulties of early Georgian tribesmen, while fertile green valleys in the lowlands are spread with charming vineyards and lush farmland.

As a country caught at a strategic crossroads between East and West, Georgia holds a deep and complex history, influenced by the various empires that struggled for sovereignty over its hills and valleys. It’s given the country a spectacular array of architecture, from cave monasteries and ancient cathedrals precariously perched from mountainside locales, to Tbilisi’s unusual blend of art nouveau apartments, Soviet-era tower blocks, and contemporary modern structures.

Travel to Georgia with MIR
A toast in Signagi, Georgia Photo credit: Mariana Noble

A toast in a vineyard in Signagi, Georgia with winemaker John Wurdeman
Photo credit: Mariana Noble

Chat with Annie about travel to Georgia by phone (1-800-424-7289) or email today. She has an insider’s knowledge of what to do and see here, and would love to help you craft a tour that takes you deep into the heart of gorgeous Georgia.

MIR has 30 years of unmatched destination expertise and travel planning experience, hand-crafting tours to Georgia and the South Caucasus since 1986.

Fall in Love with GeorgiaYou can sample the food, wine, song, culture, and scenery of Georgia on MIR’s A Taste of Georgia: Wine, Cuisine & Culture.

Or, travel and tour around Georgia and the other South Caucasus countries, Armenia and Azerbaijan, on:

You can also opt to travel on your dates and at your pace on one of MIR’s private independent trips or on a private journey of Georgia, customized to your desired dates and style.

Chat with one of our destination specialists by email or by phone at 1-800-424-7289 to start planning your 2017 travels now.

Top photo: Annie and her small group tour’s experienced tour manager in Georgia. Photo credit: Douglas Grimes

PUBLISHED: November 4, 2016

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