Megrelian cuisine stands out for its unique flavors and ingredients. One of the region’s more famous products is sulguni, a cheese which has been added to the list of the Monuments of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Georgia.

How Is Sulguni Made?

The first people to make Sulguni are thought to be Megrelians and Svans. This cheese is made from milk freshly-milked from a buffalo or cow.

The fresh, ripe cheese is first kneaded and then cut into thin layers, before being put into hot water. In the past, authentic Megrelian Sulguni was kneaded in milk or whey on a wooden block. The cheese should be kneaded well, wrapped around the hand, kneaded again, flattened, and then placed back into the boiling milk or water. It is then twisted and rolled into balls.

The face of the Sulguni should be turned upward, so that it can be burnished with the hand. Good quality Sulguni should have layers.

Next, the Sulguni is dipped into ice-cold saltwater, then put into an apsara or wooden bowl. If the cheese was intended to be preserved for a long time, the bowl would be pieced in one spot so that it could be hung on a cord. Alternatively, the cheese could be placed in saltwater with matsoni.

Smoking Sulguni in the Megrelian way is also a popular technique. It is hung on a high beam for at least two months. This variety of Sulguni could be preserved for a long time, and would make rings of oil when placed into Ghomi. These days, quick-smoking is more common than traditional woodfire smoking.

Types of Sulguni

If you prefer your Sulguni to be fresh and less salty, then you can get the soft kind, which is milky and tastes more acidic. If you like it to be saltier and more well-aged, then you should choose the dry kind, which is the best with Megrelian Ghomi.

It also goes well with soft, freshly-kneaded Elarji, khachapuri, and Megrelian Chvishtari.

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