Kakhetian Oil

Kakhetian Oil

At the end of summer, when the fields turn yellow and the flowers are brimming with seeds, the sunflower seed harvest begins in Georgia’s eastern region of Kakheti. At that time of year, courtyards, balconies, houses, and roofs are awash with these sun-shaped and sun-colored flowers.

Sunflowers, plucked from the fields, must be dried well, then threshed, before their seeds come out. Then, the oil-presses are started up all at once, golden liquid streams out of the flowers to fill vessels with valuable, aromatic, nutritious, and delicious oil. If the nearby tone oven is red-hot, and the famous local bread has been taken out, then you are in for a real treat: shoti bread with freshly-pressed Kakhetian oil.

This type of fresh Kakhetian flavor can only be tried in its truest form in a few towns of the region, like Dedoplistskaro, the town Sighnaghi, and Gurjaani, the heartlands of Kakhetian oil.

The sunflower was first brought to Georgia from Europe at the beginning of the 20th century. It is a plant that loves light, heat, and moisture, can overcome short frosts and bears drought well, and needs black earth that is permeable to water. Kakheti ticks every box!  More precisely, in the historical territories of Kiziki, the sunflower has become a valuable raw material for Kakhetian oil, with first oil-pressing factory having been built in Dedoplistskaro.

How Is Kakhetian Oil Obtained?

Kakhetian oil, unlike other oils, is sticky and, traditionally, obtained without chemical filtration. There are a number of ways to press Kakhetian oil. The most common is the compression method: well-dried sunflower seeds are heated to 80 degrees, pressed, and kept in rust-proof jars for two weeks. This method helps to maintain high nutritional values.

On the dinner table, Kakhetian oil gives a distinctive flavor to salads, herbs, capers, and beans, and all prudent households have some stored away for special parties. This oil is good for your health as well, containing vitamins A, B, D, and E, and rich in omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids.

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