Arrival

In our first 12 hours in Georgia, we’ve had khachapuri, tomato & cucumber salad with walnut sauce, lobiani, khinkali, mtsvadi and tarragon soda. Not a bad start.

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We’ve arrived, and it feels so good to be here. We’re comfortably situated in a nice apartment in the western part of Tbilisi, with a beautiful panoramic view of the city. As I write this, a tea kettle bubbles on the stove, sun streams through the kitchen window and McKinze is on the phone, making plans for our first out-of-the-city excursion this weekend.

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It Just Gets In You

Georgia is a part of our lives now, and I just don’t see that ever changing.

After we decided to close the food cart — but before we broke the news — I remember sitting with McKinze and a friend at the wonderful Mediterranean Exploration Company in Portland, enjoying their rich youvetsi over happy hour, mulling over The Big Question:

What’s next?

We already knew we were going to dive deep into the spice business and do special events. But we also thought it would be soooooooo much fun to take a big chunk of time — maybe six months?! — to go back to Georgia.

To live there. To have a Georgian apartment, in a Georgian neighborhood. To travel to all the corners of the country we never explored during our Peace Corps service.

To eat food beyond khinkali, khachapuri and pkhali. To drink wine from a qvevri and from a Fanta bottle.

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To cook with accomplished Georgian chefs as well as home cooks who are just proud of what they make and happy to share.

Most of all, to learn.

I think most people who have been in the Peace Corps would say that they learned more from their host country friends & families than they ever could have taught. That’s certainly true for us. We’ve been so fortunate and are so grateful for the opportunities we’ve had to try to share just a little piece of our experience with all of you through Kargi Gogo.

Well, six months turned into three, but we’re going — Monday! As we prepare to leave, I’m reminded of a conversation we had in Tbilisi last year with the dean of San Diego State University’s Tbilisi campus. (They’re doing some amazing work bringing an American degree program to Tbilisi — check them out here.) He had only been in Georgia a short time at that point but was already in love.

He told us a story about trying to describe Georgia to his friends and family back home: “It’s hard to put into words — it just gets in you.

Indeed it does.

We have a lot of goals for this trip, both personal and professional. But the truth is, we don’t know exactly what will unfold. That’s a little scary but a lot more exciting. Adventure. New places. New friends. New foods, new wines… definitely a lot of learning.

We appreciate you following along.

P.S.  Worry not, you can still get your Georgian spices delivered while we’re gone. We’ll even be rolling out some new things over the next few weeks!

 

A Homecoming of Sorts

Since finishing our Peace Corps service and leaving Georgia nearly four years ago, Sean and I have been plotting our way back. Not just to visit – although we love visiting Georgia! – but to actually live there again, if only for a short while. Happily, we’re finally doing just that. We fly out in two weeks and will be in Georgia for three months.

While it would be tempting (and lovely, let’s be honest) to spend our days strolling the streets of Tbilisi and becoming regulars at our neighborhood khachapuri café, we never envisioned this time as a vacation. Rather, we want to spend it exploring a subject that has intrigued us for years: Georgian food and wine.

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Baked Acharuli Khachapuri at a favorite spot in Tbilisi

Even considering our experiences with Georgia – living there with a Georgian family, operating the food cart, importing and distributing authentic Georgian spices – we know there is still so much more to learn and explore. Khachapuri and Saperavi are truly just the tip of the iceberg.

So, our plan is an ambitious one: we’ll travel to nearly every region, spending time with passionate home cooks, professional chefs, family winemakers and commercial wine producers. We’ll learn about the flavors and techniques that define Georgian food and wine. And, equally important to us, we’ll use this site to share our experiences with you.

We couldn’t be more excited (or feel any luckier, really) about this adventure that’s ahead of us.  We hope you’ll comment / tweet / ‘gram / snap at us while we’re traveling, since we love hearing from you.  If you don’t want to miss anything here, sign up to receive our posts via email on the upper right hand side of the page.

Thank you so much for following along!