The Ethnic Cuisine of Abkhazia
The ethnic cuisine of Abkhazia is not abundant but very tasty and various (30-40 main courses). It is interesting that there are only two main types of food: all flour added food is called “agukhu”, and all other food served with agukhu is called “atsifa”. Historically the cuisine development was affected by that fact that the Abkhazian tribes were occupied both by agriculture and cattle breeding. Therefore, they cooked vegetables and meat.
Meat is cooked in the traditional way on a skewer over the heated coals. In this was the delicacies are cooked – roasted goatlings and lambs stuffed with finely chopped interiors, cheese, adzhika and mint; as well as chicken seasoned with adzhika or nut sauce.
The majority of vegetable dishes are made from string beans, corn, cabbage, tomatoes, and pepper. Vegetable and meat dishes are usually served with fresh and pickled vegetables. Any dish - vegetable or meat – is flavored with spices and hot sauces (made from cherry plums, barberries, blackberries, pomegranates, green grapes, tomatoes). The set of spices including coriander, savory, basil, mint, fennel, and parsley – gives Abkhazian dishes their specific aroma and makes food delicious. Adzhika is a must there; it is served practically with everything. This thick fragrant seasoning is made of red pepper, spices, garlic and salt.
Abkhazian bread is called abysta – a thick corn mash. Besides, they eat corn flat cakes, small loafs of churek sweetened with honey or filled with cheese or walnuts. Those are baked on heated coals.
Dairy products play a special part in Abkhazian cuisine. So do cheeses of different kinds. Abkhazians are well-known for gardening, wine growing and beekeeping. Therefore vegetables, fruit, grapes, walnuts, and honey are invariably present on a typical Abkhazian table. Walnuts are used in many dishes. Honey is widely used too. It is great with churek, curd or fruit dumplings, pies etc.