In Georgia, street vendors, corner bakeries and restaurants are all passionate about preparing the dish.
A boat-shaped bread with a gooey filling of cheese and egg, khachapuri is easily found in Georgian kitchens. It translates to “cottage-cheese bread”, since the cheese (chkinti) used in it is curd-like. Khachapuri is the national dish of Georgia but there is surprisingly very little literature about its history.
In Georgia, street vendors, corner bakeries and restaurants are all passionate about preparing the dish. Here are the different types of khachapuri that Georgians claim to prefer to pizza:
Hailing from the region of Imereti, these cheesy, pizza-like pies are so commonly found that Georgian economists ended up creating a Khachapuri Index. The index uses the cost of ingredients to calculate inflation and the strength of the economy. Imeruli Khachapuri is cooked on stovetops, filled with buttery Imeruli cheese.
Going beyond the simple cheese curd filling, people in Samegrelo (a region that borders the Black Sea) have an innovative take on Imeruli khachapuri. They stuff and griddle the pies, topping them with another layer of Imeruli cheese and also the elastic suluguni (similar to mozzarella), and then bake them.
This version of khachapuri is called ‘lodachka’ (meaning “little boat” in Russian) by the locals. It comes from the Black Sea region of Adjaria and has been responsible for bringing khachapuri to the attention of the world. Adjaruli Khachapuri uses molten suluguni and Imeruli curds and a bright, runny egg yolk. It is like sunshine on a plate and usually eaten by dunking a piece of the bread into the cheese and yolk.
Penovani khachapuri, which originated in Samtskhe-Javakheti, is like a crisp pie made with puff pastry, filled with melted cheese and egg. It is commonly served as street food. Penovani khachapuri is brushed with a mixture of egg yolks and milk before it is baked. It is considered the simplest to make out of all khachapuri versions.