Khachapuri Is A Cheese Lover’s Dream Come True / Instagram

Khachapuri is basically a vessel for your cheese fantasies.

Imagine a piping hot, golden brown, bread-shaped boat, topped with bubbling cheese and a freshly cracked egg. You mix the cheese and egg together while everything is still hot and then rip off pieces of soft bread and scoop up the gooey mixture for the perfect bite.

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This decadent dish is a staple of Georgian cuisine — and not the state, the country of Georgia, which is located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe. There’s a Georgian restaurant in Manhattan, Oda House, that makes khachapuri seven ways, with each variation coming from a different region of the country. Outside of Georgia, khachapuri is served as a popular brunch food in Israel and it’s a common street food in Armenia.

Khachapuri comes in three essential forms: adjaruli, where the dough is formed into a gondola shape and then topped with a raw egg and butter before it’s served. With megruli, the bread is round-shaped with cheese melted on top. Then there’s imeruli. This is probably the most common variation with Imeretian cheese (you can substitute with feta cheese and mozzarella), eggs and butter mixed together and stuffed into a flat circular bread before baking in the oven. The bread itself is flavorful and you can brush it with egg yolk about five minutes before it’s finished baking to give the bread that ideal golden brown color. Glaze the khachapuri with butter when it’s fresh out of the oven to make the bread extra soft.

Georgian cuisine has little in the way of outside influence, with the exception of that from European and Middle Eastern cultures. The food is chock full of both meat and vegetarian dishes and incorporates herbs like tarragon, flat parsley, dill and coriander with walnuts and garlic for indulgent sauces and fillings. A few other classic Georgian foods are khinkali (twisted knobs of dough stuffed with meat and spices), badrijani nigvzit, (roasted eggplant strips, served flat and topped with walnut paste), matsoni (a sour yogurt that can go with savory and sweet dishes) and mchadi (a dense corn bread). Georgian culture has evolved over the course of the country’s history. It’s managed to proudly maintain its distinctive ethnicity in Europe with its own culture, food, language and alphabet. A strong sense of national pride shines through from the Georgian people, especially in their indulgent cuisine.