Master of the Toast in Georgia (VIDEO)

Master of the Toast in Georgia (VIDEO)

At a Georgian feast, the toasting doesn’t just stray into the emotional realm of family, friendship, honor, life and love – it marches directly in and sets up camp.

Extraordinary FeastsGeorgian Table feasts are no ordinary feasts. The table is nearly hidden by piles of carefully-prepared dishes that please the eye as well as the palate – purple eggplant wrapped around perfectly-spiced walnut paste, roasted chicken in green plum sauce, and ripe chunks of home-grown tomatoes are in the vanguard of the parade of specialties that arrive at the table over the course of several hours.

(click on photo for larger version)

Extraordinary ToastsAnd these are no ordinary speeches. The toastmaster, or tamada, presents an idea for the guests to consider, and perhaps respond to in toasts of their own. The toasts are made in an order that varies depending on the region. The line-up always includes a toast to peace and fellowship, to the motherland, Georgia, and to lost loved ones. It’s OK for the tamada to make the guests cry with an eloquent toast to those who have passed on, but the rule is that this toast must always be followed by one to new beginnings, new life, new babies.

Toastmasters at a traditional Georgian Table

Toasting at a traditional Georgian Table
Photo credit: Michel Behar.

Here, host John Wurdeman raises a toast to family at his Tbilisi restaurant. He begins by saying, “A stone that grows stronger with time is limerock…Cement decays over time, but limerock only becomes stronger.”

As everyone drinks the wonderful Georgian wine, the toasts seem to become more and more brilliant and fitting ­– necessary, even. The language of the heart is spoken at a Georgian feast, and anyone who has a heart can hear and respond.

Feasting and toasting at Pheasant's Tears WineryPhoto: Mariana Noble

Feasting and toasting at Pheasant’s Tears Winery
Photo: Mariana Noble

Travel to Georgia with MIR

The little country of Georgia is a gorgeous place boasting fabulous food, music and mountains – everything you could wish for in a destination. MIR has more than 30 years of unmatched destination expertise and travel planning experience, hand-crafting tours to Georgia and the South Caucasus since 1986.

Discover the Georgian art of toasting at a Georgian Table feast during these MIR small group tours:

If you’re interested in traveling through Georgia on your dates and at your pace, MIR can handcraft a private journey of Georgia, customized to your desired dates and style as well as several private independent trip itineraries:

(Top photo: A toast in the Pheasant’s Tears vineyard, Signagi, Georgia. Photo credit: Mariana Noble)

PUBLISHED: May 13, 2015

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