A Food and Wine Journey in the Caucasus
published 2017 • 7.5" x 9.75" • 464 pages • full-color photographs throughout
ISBN 9781566560597 • hardback • $40.00 •
“The definitive cookbook on Europe’s great unsung cuisines… Carla Capalbo's Tasting Georgia shows off the culinary gem of the Caucasus… Tasting Georgia is without question the best book ever written in English about Georgian food and wine. Equal parts cookbook, photo journal, and travel guide, it is an invitation into country kitchens where meat-stuffed flatbreads bake, cilantro-scented stews bubble, and river trout sizzle. Georgia’s greatest culinary hits are all accounted for in Capalbo’s book, from the Instagram-famous cheese canoe called ajaruli khachapuri to the fist-sized soup dumplings called khinkali. But what sets Tasting Georgia apart is its laser focus on hyper-specific town-by-town cuisines and the people behind them… Every dish is brought to life by colorful, intimate photography.”“This food-, culture-, and history-centric travelogue will make readers yearn to visit the independent democracy of Georgia. Capalbo, an American journalist based in Europe, knows her subject intimately. In addition to the brilliant photographs and 65-plus recipes, Capalbo introduces the warm hospitality and amazing wine regions of this country the size of Scotland.... Everything’s showcased against Capalbo’s realistic pictures of people and scenery, along with good historical bytes. Georgia peaches in a whole different light.”
—Booklist (starred review)
"The book is fantastic—beautiful, fascinating and also moving, important and written from the heart."
“Ancient, enigmatic Georgia, enviably positioned between the Caucasus Mountains and the Black Sea, lays claim to one of history’s greatest civilizing feats: the first domestication of wild grapes more than five thousand years ago. This means that Georgian grape growers developed the genetic ancestors of all the noble winemaking vinifera (Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, etc.) now grown the world over. Forevermore, every Champagne toast should begin and end with Georgia on your mind. The latest of Carla Capalbo’s dozen-plus regional books that expansively cover the culture of food and wine production—chefs, farmers, winemakers, grape growers, recipes, in-depth historical detail, and high-quality photography—Tasting Georgia divvies up the country into ten regions (ten chapters), from capital city Tbilisi in the southeast to Guria and Adjara on the northern Black Sea coast. And while the style of cooking and local dishes are distinct as you move about, and interesting details about the country’s lengthy, complicated history keep the pages turning, it’s the photos and descriptions of individual winemaking operations still utilizing thousand-year-old methods that capture the imagination. An agricultural country of stunning beauty far removed from the bustle of tourism-weary Western Europe, Capalbo has done the great service of bringing the country’s treasures within reach of any visitor through the use of maps, listings of hundreds of places of interest, and suggested itineraries.”
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“With characteristic empathy and engagement, Carla has documented Georgia’s unique gastronomic traditions and the people who have fought so hard to preserve them.”
—Carlo Petrini, Founder of Slow Food
“A book that shows the world perhaps one of the last undiscovered great food cultures of Europe.”
— René Redzepi, noma
Award-winning food and wine writer and photographer Carla Capalbo has traveled across Georgia collecting recipes and gathering stories from traditional food and wine producers in this stunning but little-known country, nestled between the Caucasus Mountains and the Black Sea. The result is a beautifully illustrated cookbook and cultural guide.
Meet Georgia’s best chefs and cooks and sample their vibrant, colorful cuisine, including vegetables blended with walnuts and aromatic herbs, subtly spiced stews, and the irresistible cheese-filled khachapuri breads that are served on every table.
Georgia is one of the world’s oldest winemaking areas, with wines traditionally made in clay qvevri buried in the ground. These wines are some of today’s most sought-after by fans of natural and organic viticulture.
• 70 authentic recipes • 60 restaurants and wine bars • 390 original photographs
• 40 family wineries • 10 regional maps • visits to Georgia’s best chefs, cooks and markets
Carla Capalbo was born in New York, brought up in Paris and London and lived for many years in Italy. She divides her time between Georgia, London and Italy. An ex-sculptor, editor and stylist, she now works as a freelance journalist and photographer. She’s a regular contributor to Decanter, Zester Daily and Cook_inc. and many other publications on both sides of the Atlantic. Carla has written fourteen books on the culture of producing food and wine, and received numerous awards. Her last book, Collio: Fine Wines and Foods from Italy’s Northeast, won the prestigious André Simon Award for best wine book, and her photos of Georgia have won several awards, including from the IACP’s Culinary Trust. She is closely linked to Slow Food, and is a member of the Guild of Food Writers and the Circle of Wine Writers.
“[A] closely researched guide to a country most famous in food and drink … If you are thinking of striking out to this underexplored territory, Tasting Georgia would make an excellent companion; in the meantime Capalbo also offers recipes for a spread of typical dishes such as mulberry and goat’s cheese salad, egg pancakes stuffed with cheese, stuffed tomatoes and chicken with garlic sauce.”
“This food-, culture-, and history-centric travelogue will make readers yearn to visit the independent democracy of Georgia. Capalbo, an American journalist based in Europe, knows her subject intimately. In addition to the brilliant photographs and 65-plus recipes, Capalbo introduces the warm hospitality and amazing wine regions of this country the size of Scotland. Spanning an area between the mountains and the Black Sea, Georgia might not be easily traversed all 12 months of the year. No matter: Georgian food and traditions charm. Winemaking, for instance, occurs in large terracotta vessels called kvevri, fashioned by natives and coated with beeswax, yielding some impressive vintages. Supras, or feasts, involve plentiful dishes featuring khachapuri (filled breads), walnut paste lavished on a variety of foods, and fresh lamb, fish, and produce. Capalbo includes recommended places to stay, which are usually vetted, with notes indicating the kinds of accommodations to expect, as well as restaurant profiles featuring the chef, his/her background, and the kind of foodstuffs served. Everything’s showcased against Capalbo’s realistic pictures of people and scenery, along with good historical bytes. Georgia peaches in a whole different light.”
—Booklist (starred review)
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