Ajara has been breeding cattle for thousands of years, and it seems that this also applies to cuisine.
In Zemo Ajara, families leave their villages from spring to autumn and follow their cattle to the summer pastures in the mountains. Agriculture significantly determined the menu of Ajarian cuisine.
Farmers prepare a variety of dairy products for winter: cheese, kuruti, erbo, kaimaghi, naguti, and do.
The farm products are exceptionally tasty, as noted by visitors. Considering the climate and location of mountainous Ajara, the population starts preparing for winter the spring before. Because the roads were closed for months due to heavy snowfall, they kept spares - chelts (spun racks) filled with dried fruits, the dried meat of poultry and cattle slaughtered in late autumn, storehouses filled with corn, honey, nuts, walnuts, flour, with condensed mulberry juce - bakmazi.
Popular vegetable dishes in Ajarian cuisine include pkhal-lobio (herbs and walnut based dish), a variety of bean dishes, vegetable pickles, and wild plants. Melted butter is a component of almost all dishes, and there are also many dishes made with eggs.
Kobuleti, on the Ajara-Guria border, has created its special kitchen, so many of the Ajarian dishes feature the name Kobuleti - such as Kobuleti-style chirbuli (egg and veggies dish), Kobuleti-style sarma (dolma-like dish), iakhni. Iakhni is made with beef, saffron, spices, and walnuts.
A special wedding dessert is majuni, which is made of boiled rice, honey, and black pepper. The first portion is given to the groom and bride, as a sign that sweet-hot food is a symbol of full family life.
Ajarian khachapuri is the calling card of Ajarian cuisine. Everyone who comes to Batumi, whether a foreigner or a local guest, will taste Ajarian khachapuri.
Achma is referred to as one of the varieties of Khachapuri. It is already spread throughout Georgia and is very popular. It consists of thin, cooked layers that are embedded with cheese and melted butter.
Pkhal-lobio is one of the filling, hot dishes. In Ajara winter beans are called black beans, probably because in summer when the beans are still raw, we refer to them as green beans. This dish is made with boiled green beans, black beans, leeks, garlic, parsley, coriander, walnuts, salt, and pepper.
Malakhto is a nutritious dish made with "burnt butter" and cheese sprinkled in it, which is soaked in hot water beforehand. It is served with hot soup.
Borano - This dish is very calorie-rich because it is made with melted butter and cheese. Butter is boiled for so long that black dots appear, and that's why it's called "burnt butter". Pre-shredded cheese is poured into the hot liquid and served with Mchadi.
Chirbuli - this dish is made with 5 eggs dipped in well-boiled butter or erbo (clarified butter), salt, boiling water, 3 cloves of garlic and a bit of sour plum juice.
Battered anchovies are normally prepared with finely chopped beetroot leaves, parsley, coriander, pepper, salt, boiled rice, and corn flour, which we soak in barberry water and mix with well-washed anchovies. Bake on a heated griddle or pan.
Sinori - to prepare it, use broth, sour cream, fat, garlic, and thin sheets of baked dough. Today, you can buy these at the supermarket, or prepare them from thin bread.
Kaimaghi - a high-mountain Ajarian product, made from chilled milk with fat on top.
Kuruti is a common product in the highlands of Ajara. It is prepared by mixing curd, milk, kaimaghi, and corn flour. The resulting mass is shaped into a ball, dried in the sun in the summer, ground in hot animal fat in the winter, and eaten with a meal.
Spinning cheese - cheese is mainly made in highland Ajara using special techniques. Because of its different shapes and flavor, this product is a great option for any cheese lover.
Burme - this is like baklava, a sweet roll-shaped treat. It is made with butter, walnuts, or nuts and sugar. The freshly baked burme is poured with hot syrup, which is prepared with saffron and lemon.
Kaisapa - Kaisapa is one of the traditional dishes that is made with boiled plum, walnuts, and sugars and is a very tasty dessert.