Georgia: Getting silly in Tbisili

Georgia, Georgia… Yes, to quote the legendary Ray Charles, we certainly had Georgia on our minds…

 

…when we headed to Gröndal to meet our next guests, Sophie and Lasha. To clarify, it was neither Ray’s beloved lady Georgia we were thinking of, nor the US state famous for its peaches (could they be one and the same?). In any case, it was Russia’s friendly neighbor, the great nation of Georgia (namely, its allegedly mighty fine cuisine) that was consuming our thoughts as we knocked on the door of our lovely Tbilisi correspondents.

Right away, we were greeted with warm hugs, and an incredible view of the water. Sophie, ever the gracious host, got right down to the business of serving everyone some incredible Georgian wine, which is typically made in clay pots under ground (badass, right?!). Wine glasses in hand and with some traditional Georgian tunes in the background, we got right down to preparing the evening’s feast…we mean feast quite literally, the jeans were already unbuttoned halfway through the meal and it stayed that way for the rest of the evening. Preparing an authentic Georgian feast is a bit like running a marathon, in that you need lots of time and plenty of stamina, and should always have some snacks handy (but not too many, because you’re going to want to save room for the seconds and thirds of EVERYTHING). This to say, like most amazing things in life, a great majority of Georgian meals require lots of tender loving care and a few hours of prep time – basically, the exact opposite of the sad meals you threw together in college (where anything microwavable reigned supreme). But trust us, the Tbilisian feast waiting for you at the finish line is so, so worth it. Just as heavenly as the dinner itself, was our dinner conversation with our fantastic hosts (you know what they say, great food is always better with great friends… or something like that, you get the drift). So if you’re one of the blessed souls lucky enough to secure an invite to a traditional Georgian dinner, then be sure to carve out a few sacred hours, as you can easily lose track of time at the dinner table, as you fill your tummies with goodness and the room with laughter. Oh boy, that last sentence was almost as cheesy as the incredible Georgian cheese bread we devoured…  find out how to make it and more of the incredible delicacies from our Georgian night by scrolling on!!

“I’m also really interested in this rotten fish, the surströmming. Of course I don’t want to try it, I just want to see how it smells because I’ve heard all kinds of horror stories”

Recipe for a vegetarian Georgian feast

All the dishes together will serve 4 people. Prep time is about 3,5 hours (and we were VERY full). Of course, if you want to only do some of the dishes it will be enough for 2-3 people. If you want to make all of them we recommend prepping some of the things the day before, to save you some time!

In some of the recipes we use ground walnuts, which is a staple for lots of Georgian dishes. Sophie had the luxury of having her mother ground them for her in Georgia. If you are not as lucky, you can finely chop the walnuts or use a hand held blender (as putting them in a blender will make the concoction too creamy)

Listen to: the cool sounds of KungFu Junkie (an acquaintance of Sophie and a proud fighter for LGBTQ rights, who tragically committed suicide last year) or the soft sounds of Katie Melua (born in Georgia)

Pair with: Georgian Qvevri-made wine, an UNESCO cultural heritage method of making wine, which involves clay pots buried in the ground. This ancient method results in some of the tastiest liquids we have ever experienced.

Dishes:

Walnut, tomato, and cucumber salad:

  • Half a cucumber, peeled
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 1 yellow onion
  • Olive oil (3 tbsp)
  • White wine vinegar (2 tbsp)
  • Ground walnuts (2-4 tbsp)
  • A bunch of cilantro
  1. Slice tomatoes into smaller clefts, and slice the cucumber, cutting into semi-circles
  2. Cut the onion in half and finely slice into thin semi-circles
  3. Finely chop a handful of cilantro
  4. Mix the vegetables in a bowl
  5. Add a few tbsp of ground walnuts
  6. Pour in about 3 tbsp of olive oil, and 2 tbsp of white wine vinegar and mix together
  7. Top the salad with chopped cilantro – boom, ready to serve!

Roasted Potatoes with Spices

  • 6-8 potatoes (the firm kind)
  • Salt of svaneti (see pic, this stuff is amazing)
  • Salt
  • Olive oil
  1. Set oven to 250 Cº
  2. Cover a baking tray with aluminium foil
  3. Rinse potatoes, cut into clefts, then massage the clefts with salt and spices
  4. Put the potatoes on the tray and drizzle with olive oil
  5. Let cook in oven for 20-30 minutes, until the potatoes have a crispy outside

Khachapuri (cheese-filled bread AKA the thing that will make anyone believe in true love)

For the dough (makes 2 breads):

  • Turkish yoghurt (about 500g)
  • 300 g flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • Fresh yeast (one package)
  1. Mix together yoghurt (except for about 1/5th of the yoghurt) and flour in a bowl, working with your hands to really combine the ingredients (good workout depending on how much force you use!)
  2. Mix the yeast together with the remaining yoghurt, and then add into the rest of the dough. Keep kneading until dough becomes smooth and doesn’t stick to the sides of the bowl (add more flour, if needed)
  3. Place a towel over the bowl and leave it for one hour to let the dough rise
  4. (For the planners out there, you can do this the day before and let the dough sit)

For the cheese blend (for one bread):

  • One package of Feta cheese
  • 200 g grated Mozzarella cheese
  1. In a bowl break the feta cheese into smaller crumbs and add in the shredded mozzarella.
  2. Mix the cheese together with your hands, pushing it together. The goal is to create a “snowball” of cheese

The actual cheese bread:

  • A few tbsp flour
  • 1 egg
  1. Turn oven to 250 C and place a baking sheet on a baking tray
  2. Bring out dough and knead a bit extra with some more flour.
  3. Put the dough on a large board, and roll it out with a rolling pin. The dough should be about 3 cm thick
  4. Put the ball of cheese (the best word combo in the English language) in the middle of the dough and bring together the edges of the dough, around the cheese, so as to make a “bag” of dough around the cheese
  5. Now, once the cheese is inside the dough, flatten the dough again (with the cheese on the inside) and flatten using your hands, making sure the cheese is spread throughout the inside of the bread.
  6. Whisk an egg in a small bowl and brush the surface of the bread, except for the edges
  7. Put the bread on the baking tray and with a sharp knife cut small slits into the bread so that the air can escape
  8. Put the bread into the oven and bake for about 10-15 minutes, until the bread has a golden surface.

Walnut sauce wrapped in aubergine and bell pepper

The vegetables:

  • 2 aubergines, sliced lengthwise (about 0,5 cm thick)
  • 2 red peppers
  • Olive oil (3-5 tbsp)
  • Salt (2-3 tbsp)
  1. Place the aubergine slices into a bowl and cover with lots of salt. Let sit for about 20-30 min (this helps draw water out from the aubergines and makes for better frying later)
  2. Slice the peppers into big segments, and boil for 5-10 minutes depending on the thickness of the pepper (you want it to feel soft when it’s done)
  3. Take the aubergines and start squeezing out the water (starting from the top of each slice, working your way down). Put the aubergines on a plate with paper towels, to further dry them.
  4. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil, and fry the aubergines on each side until they are browned. Put aside on a plate with paper towels again to dry them.

The walnut sauce

  • Ground walnuts (2-3 dl)
  • 1 tbsp saffron (possible to use less)
  • 1 tbsp Uexo seasoning
  • 1 tbsp dry coriander
  • 3 cloves of mashed garlic (adjust to your passion for garlic)
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • A handful of chopped cilantro
  • Water
  1. Add all ingredients into a large bowl and mix.
  2. Add water as needed (you want the texture to be creamy, so it will be easy to spread on the vegetables

For the rolls:

  1. On one slice of aubergine, spread about 1 tbsp of the walnut sauce over the surface.
  2. Roll the aubergine, starting with the more narrow side
  3. Repeat with all the aubergine slices, and with the bell pepper (here the rolls should be length-wise)

The decoration (optional):

  • Lettuce leaves
  • Pomegranate seeds

Lobeo (Bean stew)

  • 2 cans of red kidney beans
  • Hot water
  • 5 dried bay leaves
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2-4 cloves of garlic, crushed (again, adjust to fit your passion for garlic)
  • 1 tsp thyme/sage
  • 2 tsp dried coriander
  • 1 tsp Uxco seasoning
  • Cilantro
  1. Rinse beans and drain
  2. Put beans in a pot over medium-high heat and cover with hot water, adding in the bay leaves.
  3. Let the beans simmer for about 10-15 minutes and mush with a spoon or a fork to get a creamier texture
  4. In a skillet fry the onion in some olive oil until browned and translucent
  5. Add in the onion and garlic into the bean stew
  6. Add in spices, and let the bean stew simmer until the texture becomes very creamy.
  7. Add a handful of cilantro and mix into the bean stew
  8. Ready to serve!

Interview time

Kryddhyllan: What’s your favorite food from home?

Sophie: Lobio. It’s also a good vegetarian option, ‘cause you get a lot of protein. And it’s delicious.

Lasha: Hmm my favourite? I’m split between the eggplant with walnut sauce and the spinach with walnut sauce. We didn’t cook the spinach one today, but it’s so good. It’s from this sub-family of foods “prahli”, like veggies with walnuts sauce, and one of those prahlis is spinach with walnuts. It’s delicious.

Kryddhyllan (on our third plate of food): Yeah it’s amazing. Cool, so why is it your favorite food?

Sophie: Well I like the taste and that it’s very healthy. It’s cheap, easy to make. On the weekends I usually go hiking and this hike usually ends at my favorite restaurant, this place where they make really good lobio. We usually call it the “lobio hike” because you go up this mountain and it’s never ending and you’re not sure if you going to make it and then you finally get to have lobios at the top.

Kryddhyllan: That’s good incentive. We need to do more hikes that lead to restaurants. That should be the point of ALL hikes.

Lasha: I don’t know if I have any particular reasons for liking it, besides the taste. I love the walnut sauce and Georgian spices… I could eat any vegetable with that sauce. I mean I wouldn’t say it’s healthy- is it healthy? I guess not with fried eggplants.

Kryddhyllan: Mmmm food… Okay no, focus! So what brought you guys to Sweden?

Lasha & Sophie: We both came here for studies, so education brought us here.

Kryddhyllan: Why was Sweden your first choice?

Lasha: Well, Sweden was the first country I travelled to, and I loved Sweden and I really wanted to go abroad, quit working for a little bit and get some profound knowledge that specifically related to my area. So I decided just to leave Georgia and move abroad, and Sweden was a top choice because I had these great emotions about Sweden. Also, in terms of culture and, I dunno I had this unexplainable fascination with Scandinavian environments that I can’t explain. I just loved  everything about it.

Sophie: It’s the Sweden brand *laughs

Lasha: Yeah, before I came to Sweden I was interested in knowing about it. I remember even before coming here I had printed out a picture of all the towns in Norway that I had in my room. So when I decided to apply I connected with Sophie to help me in terms of which universities and so on. So education was the main reason I came here.

Kryddhyllan: Together with the Swedish brand.

Lasha: *laughs yeah exactly.

Sophie: Yeah I think the Swedish brand is very powerful in general.

Kryddhyllan: In what way, what is our brand?

Sophie: Like the perfect society formula. As in, we’ve found the solution for a perfect society. And I see why Swedes are so proud, because it’s pretty fucking cool right? And I’ve been fascinated by the feminist movement since I’m engaged in feminist movements in Georgia, it was always, you know we always said like “oh well in Sweden”, it was always an example we brought.

Lasha: The first thing I remembered about Sweden when I came in 2013 for a short trip was that I noticed that men push the baby strollers. It was a big thing that stuck for me like, men are taking care of children.

Sophie: And then all the strollers are Bugaboo, like 18000kr.

Lasha: Haha yeah, but then it was something I definitely support, I think men should take more responsibility and I saw how men take responsibility in terms of taking care of children or doing home stuff.

Kryddhyllan: How is it in Georgia? Are gender roles very traditional?

Sophie: Yeah, but it’s also very class oriented. I don’t think I’m saying anything new but I’d say that poor women definitely have the hardest time because they have to juggle the most. But if you make good money then families hire nannies, so the housework doesn’t fall on the woman in the household anyway anymore. So you can work and everything gets taken care of.

Kryddhyllan: Is it common for women to work?

Lasha: Yeah, it has roots in the Soviet Union, because they started this emancipation policy for women, that women should be workers. It didn’t release women from the housework, it was kind of an additional job for women. So they were doing housework and at the same time they were working, while men were only working, the outside job and nothing inside the family. And Georgia remains this kind of patriarchal country, divided gender roles and so on. Even in rich families there is a clear division when it comes to roles. Like you are taking care of this part and I take care of this, men earn the money and women decide how to spend it.

Sophie: Of course the gender roles and expectations are still there amongst all classes, but would you say they don’t exist in Sweden here at all to some extent?

Lasha: The thing in Georgia is that when men cook, for example, it’s kind of strange. If you are not a professional cook, and are just cooking at home, it’s not very well accepted. They believe the cuisine is for a woman and that men shouldn’t cook, unless it’s your profession.

Sophie: In mean in general the younger families can afford to hire people, so it’s becoming less common for both men and women to cook. So they don’t think they’re losing out on anything and think: “I can have it all” but don’t consider that someone from a lower class is doing the work.

Kryddhyllan: Super interesting. I feel like it’s happening all over the world, that young people’s attitudes to roles and things are constantly changing and developing.

Lasha: Yes, and young people today are becoming more open, to discuss and maybe rearrange things in their own surroundings. It’s changing slowly.

Sophie: But going back to the whole perfect society formula, I’d say that it can be a bit dangerous, because Swedes started to believe it so much that I feel like sometimes they don’t like being challenged when something is going wrong, ‘cause it’s like “well we’ve always done this, it’s considered perfect”, so it’s harder to motivate change sometimes. But people feel like it won’t get any better than this.

Kryddhyllan: Yeah, there’s definitely things in Sweden that people consider like “holy”, like when it comes to education and healthcare and the whole public sector being free, and looking down a bit on the private sector.

Sophie: Yeah, I mean I think there’s always something that can be improved upon- just because you’re #1 in the world doesn’t mean that this is as good as it gets because the world’s standard is falling back in many areas. So if you feel that something is perfect then you never have motivation to change. So that’s the scary part.

Kryddhyllan: Lesson is to never be content.

Sophie: *laughing I mean it’s good to take pride, but also look to the future to make sure you don’t stagnate.

Lasha: We’re getting too philosophical.

Kryddhyllan: Haha, we ended up talking politics, whether we like it or not. But back to food! What’s your favourite new food since moving to Sweden?

Lasha: Kanelbullar of course.

Kryddhyllan: Good choice.

Lasha: I could eat 80.

Sophie: I love all the bullar and princesstårta and semla and so on.

Kryddhyllan: Have you tried semmelwraps? They’re a bit lighter ‘cause it’s a rolled out wrap, but still with all the good stuff.

Sophie: It’s a bit harder when it comes to vegetarian dishes. Like what are Swedish vegetarian dishes?

Kryddhyllan: Boiled potatoes?

Sophie: Haha, the first time I came here I had boiled potatoes with butter. And lingonberries.

Kryddhyllan: I guess you could do like Jansson’s Frestelse but… without the fish? But I guess it’s a key ingredient… otherwise that’s just a regular potato gratin haha. Hmm, let’s think of some good veggie dishes.

Sophie: I remember when I was at a conference in Malmö, my friend wanted me to try something very local, very Swedish. So she took me to a falafel stand, like this is as Malmö as it gets!

Kryddhyllan: Yeah, Malmö is supposed to have the best falafel.

Sophie: Back then we didn’t have falafel in Georgia, so it was like a novelty for me!

Lasha: Falafel is a new dish in Georgia. We’ve had kebab for a while but not falafel.

Kryddhyllan: So that’s a veggie dish for you!

Lasha: Maybe it sounds a bit boring, but I really love knäckebröd. Not really a food but I love it.

Kryddhyllan: It’s an institution.

Lasha: I eat it as a snack, you can save it forever.

Kryddhyllan: It’s true, I have some knäckebröd from a few years back that I had for breakfast the other day.

Sophie: Sounds like a really bad business idea…

Lasha: We have something similar in Georgia, it’s like a bread without… what’s it called? Yeast. It’s something that people in the mountains were making because you could save it forever, when there were no oats or wheat.

Sophie: Oh yeah, it sounds familiar, my grandma maybe used to make it.

Kryddhyllan: So you’re already familiar with the concept.

Lasha: Yeah it’s so tasty I love it. The thing is that I don’t really have a favorite dish here, because I mean I’m not vegetarian but I’m not that into meat and here everything is meat or fish…

Kryddhyllan: It’s a bit embarrassing that we can’t think of a single Swedish dish that’s vegetarian.

Sophie: You guys do a lot of stuff with mushrooms?

Kryddhyllan: Oh yeah, kantarell toast! That’s vegetarian and it’s amazing.

Sophie: Is that Swedish though?

Kryddhyllan: yeah? Yeah. Dunno if we’ve ever had it anywhere else… could have some French influence, given the parsley, onion, and copious amounts of butter? Anyway, you have to eat it in the Fall, it’s the best then.

Sophie: Interesting…

Kryddhyllan: Oh yeah, and nettle soup!! That’s vegetarian. It’s delicious. Next cooking night, we’ll make it.

Sophie: It’s a deal.

Kryddhyllan: Before coming here, what did you know about Swedish food?

Sophie: …. Nothing?

Lasha: Yeah no I knew nothing.

Kryddhyllan: Guess we’re not so good at branding when it comes to food. Well some people know meatballs because of IKEA.

Sophie: Not even that, we didn’t have IKEA in Georgia.

Kryddhyllan: Not yet… it’s probably coming.

Sophie: H&M is coming!

Kryddhyllan: So now that you do live here and you’ve finally gotten to try Swedish food, what would you say is the best and worst thing about Swedish food?

Lasha: Ummm the best thing is that Christmas ham.

Kryddhyllan: Can’t stop thinking about that ham, even months later.

Lasha: Haha, and the worst thing is bryggkaffe. Like typical Swedish coffee.

Kryddhyllan: What?! Coffee is supposed to be the best here in Sweden.

Lasha: No. It’s not how good coffee tastes.

Kryddhyllan: Ok, you’ll have to make us traditional Georgian coffee then.

Lasha: There is no such thing in Georgia *laughing. No but I don’t like that classic coffee taste, I’m more into Americano, espresso that kind of thing.

Sophie: I’m all about bryggkaffe, I love it. Fika breaks are my favorite part about Swedish food.

Lasha: I mean I do drink it too nevertheless, I just don’t like it. It’s not coffee, it’s like something else…

Kryddhyllan: Dishwater?

Lasha: It’s like something in between tea and coffee…

Sophie: I’m not a big coffee drinker usually, and especially in summer I don’t drink it at all. It’s just this whole culture around coffee that’s really fascinating. Like you can take breaks, meet your colleagues, and have an excuse to take a break every 45 minutes.

Lasha: So you like fika, not the coffee.

Sophie: Yeah exactly. The fruits, the bullar, the fikabröd.

Lasha: I’m also really interested in this rotten fish, the surströmming. Of course I don’t want to try it I just want to see how it smells because I’ve heard all kinds of horror stories.

Sophie: Once you smell it you can never unsmell it.

Kryddhyllan: Neither of us have ever tried it… maybe this summer? I don’t know if most people our generation eat it that much. Alex’s dad was never allowed to eat it indoors, he always had to go outside, several meters away from the house…

Sophie: I got it for my friend in Egypt, I asked him what he wanted and he said he wanted “the rotten fish”.

Kryddhyllan: Did you eat it with your friend?

Sophie: Oh no, he was not allowed to open it while I was there.

Kryddhyllan: Have you gotten a review since then?

Sophie: No, no I should probably check up on him, see if he-

Kryddhyllan: is still alive?

Sophie: I mean for me fish in general just sounds super disgusting. I’ve never eaten fish, since the day I was allowed to say “no” to my mother’s food. I hate fish.

Kryddhyllan: And then you come to a country that has rotten fish as one of its main dishes.

Sophie: *laughs. I also like the convenience of Swedish food, like how you have tubes and so on. It’s so Swedish to make everything as convenient as possible. It’s like how can we make it simpler? Put it in a tube.

Kryddhyllan: Have you had Kalle’s Caviar?

Lasha: What is that?

Kryddhyllan: It’s like roe, fish eggs… and lots of sugar. Tomato paste. But you can’t compare the fish you get here to the South. It comes from cold waters and it tastes completely different… Anyway, what the worst thing about Swedish food?

Sophie: The vegetarian options or lack therefore.

Kryddhyllan: Well now you can have kantarell toast!

Sophie: And nettle soup.

Kryddhyllan: Yeah, it’s on record that we’ll have a big batch of nettle soup… for the launch party maybe? With kanelbullar on the side.

Sophie: Yes, I can’t wait.

Kryddhyllan: Okay, so if you had to pick one food to have for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?

Lasha: Italian pizza. Because it can be so different, but it would be the same.

Sophie: I have no idea… I guess broccoli?

Kryddhyllan: … just broccoli??

Sophie: Yeah. I love broccoli. I’ve loved it since I was a kid. You know this kindergarten food that everybody hates? Yeah I love that.

Kryddhyllan: Like really simple vegetables?

Sophie: Yeah like American style, where they’re slimy and stuff *laughing

Kryddhyllan: Like when the carrots are shaped like dinosaurs and stuff?

Sophie: Exactly haha. No but I just love broccoli!

Kryddhyllan: Yeah, no judgment there. You’ll probably have the longest life of all the people that we’ve interviewed yet.

Sophie: Yeah it seems like I’ve chosen my vegetarian path well. I’ve met a lot of vegetarians that hate vegetables.

Kryddhyllan: Oh man, that’s rough.

Sophie: Yeah they’re like I love animals but I hate eating plants, I hate eating animals

Kryddhyllan: I guess you could have wine then…

Sophie: Exactly!

Kryddhyllan: Ok, so if you had to pick one spice to flavor your food for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Lasha: Coriander definitely.

Kryddhyllan: Good choice. No arguments there.

Sophie: Does salt count? Then it would have to be salt. There was this fable, I think it was the Brothers Grimm. Like a King had three daughters and when it came time to make the choice of who would be next in line he started asking questions like “prove your love to me”, and one daughter said “I love you like a sunny day” and the youngest daughter said “I love you like salt”, and he was all “wow, you hate me you’re the worst” and then he kicked her out, and after awhile she became a cook at this royal palace and gave the king food without salt, and when he finally tasted food with salt he realized that it was the best thing ever. And he realized what she meant when she’d said “I love you like salty food”.

Kryddhyllan: “I love you like salty food”, that’s gotta be next Eurovision hit.

Sophie: Haha and the performance would be people mining salt in the background.

Kryddhyllan:  That’s it, we’ve got our next hit song! Ok, so what’s the best meal you’ve ever had and why?

Sophie: I dunno…

Lasha: Hmm the best food I’ve ever had… I dunno, either francesinha from Portugal.

Kryddhyllan: What’s that?

Lasha: It’s francesinha…

Kryddhyllan: Ah ok, gotcha!

Lasha: Haha, it’s a dish, with toast and between the two toasts there is ham and cheese and egg.

Kryddhyllan:  Like a Croque Monsieur?

Lasha: No, a Croque Monsieur is different. That’s in France. And Francesinha is cooked in some kind of sauce, so it’s really delicious. Or maybe, octopus (sorry Sophie). I could marry octopus I love it so much.

Kryddhyllan: Like calamari style?

Lasha: Yeah grilled, it’s amazing. And the worst thing I’ve ever tasted is- wait, do you have that as the next question?

Kryddhyllan: No, but go for it!

Lasha: It would absolutely be frog legs. I hate them.

Kryddhyllan: Don’t they taste like chicken?

Lasha: No, they’re more sweet and more….

Sophie: Disgusting?

Lasha: Exactly. They’re sticky and sweet and just… *shudders.

Kryddhyllan: In a bad way? So… not sticky and sweet like a kanelbulle? Sticky and sweet like a frog leg. It’s important to know the difference.

Lasha: Exactly!

Sophie: I can’t think of a best meal. I mean when I’m hungry and I think “oh, what will I eat”, then I always think of these summer days at my grandma’s place in the mountains where she would make very simple lobio from fresh ingredients and fresh herbs she grew in her garden. And the smell of this soup, ah the smell was just- and the freshly baked bread! And being outdoors, under a big tree, and you’re looking at a view of the mountains. Yeah, I think food is all about being social. You might not remember the exact taste or ingredients but you always remember the company or the atmosphere.

Kryddhyllan: Oh, that’s lovely.

Sophie: Did I make you cry? Haha talking about little old grandma, making food for Sophie.

Kryddhyllan: A little… it has all the elements for a Eurovision song, there’s grandma, the perfect soup, mountains…

Sophie: And underage drinking.

Kryddhyllan: And that! Ok! Final question- what is your favorite restaurant at the moment?

Sophie: I would say Leila. So there’s a small café in Tbilisi in the center near the boats and the old town, a very cool area. And they make this fusion Georgian food, so like old Georgian food but without meat. So they substitute meat with dumplings or cauliflower in walnut sauce. Or, my favorite dish when I used to eat meat was this lamb stew, but I didn’t like it because of the meat, I liked it because of all the spices that you used. So they used mushrooms and have the same spices and it’s so much more delicious. SO you can taste your favourite dish but cruelty free. And they’re located in an old building where they used to make meringues. It’s a very old, tiny room.

Kryddhyllan: We need to go to Georgia. It’s happening!

Sophie: But I can also say that Panini Internazionale (no, seriously!) is one of my favorite places in Sweden and I’ve tried a lot of restaurants here around Stureplan for lunch. But every single time I end up wanting to have the small feta salad from Panini.

Kryddhyllan: Yean, Panini’s pretty great.

Sophie: I think their concept is great. If I move back to Georgia I’d love to have their concept or franchise there. I’m basically the perfect Panini brand ambassador. Whenever it’s lunchtime I’m like to my colleagues “what do you mean, why buy a salad there when you can go to Panini!”

Lasha: Hmm as for me… my favorite restaurant is in Georgia, because I haven’t gotten to try many restaurants here yet. It’s called Ezo, and I think they have the best dishes, they make sort of modernized traditional Georgian dishes. I love the setting of the restaurant, it’s in the middle of the typical Tbsilli neighborhood, where people live and walk around- it’s not some super fancy schmancy place. So people are living around there, doing their thing and you’re sitting on the balcony. Oh wait, then in Sweden my favorite place is Café Linné in Uppsala.

Kryddhyllan: Ah, that place is so cute!!

Sophie: Yeah, even I’ve been there!

Lasha: Yeah it’s a great place, kind of old and dark, with old furniture, I think it’s from the 1800s. There are three Linné cafes in Uppsala I think.

Sophie: Who was Linné?

Lasha: He was the guy who classified the mammals I think. A biologist. Uppsala is very proud of him, there’s a lot of Linné things around the town.

Kryddhyllan: Like Linné burgers, Linné sushi haha…Well, thanks guys for sharing Georgian food with us!

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