Many Americans fall in love with the food of Georgia (the country, not the state) after sampling khachapuri, a savory cheese-stuffed bread often served with a runny egg on top. For others, it’s a plateful of handmade khinkali, the country’s meaty version of soup dumplings.
For me, the obsession started with a humble bean stew called lobio.
I’d heard about lobio from my friend Alice Feiring, who went to Georgia on a research trip to write a book about the country’s ancient tradition of winemaking.
Back in New York, she couldn’t stop talking about the tomatoes, potatoes and beans. Georgia has been famous for its fruits and vegetables, including plums, grapes and pomegranates, for centuries. Many of its crops are still farmed in traditional, not industrial, ways.
The boiled potatoes, she told me, were heartbreakingly profound, with an earthy, clover blossom sweetness.