Making and eating khinkali

1043 Reviews

Star Travel Rating


Review type

Things to do


Date of travel

June, 2023

Product name

Nao's Guest House

Product country


Product city


Travelled with


Reasons for trip


Whilst staying in Stepantsminda, near the Georgian-Russian border, we visited the family run Nao’s Guest House, both for dinner and to learn how to make – Georgian dumplings made of twisted knobs of dough, stuffed with meat, fish or vegetables – one of the country’s most important dishes.

Our table was laid with a feast: tomato and cucumber salad with walnut dressing; sliced Sulguni cheese; Ajapsandali, an eggplant stew rather like ratatouille; and shoti bread. Nao and her husband were beavering away in the open plan kitchen and more dishes followed: garlic mushrooms and succulent pork chunks with fried potatoes accompanied by adjika, a spicy tomato-based paste. The finale was what was becoming one of my favourite Georgian dishes, khacapuri, a cheesey bread, but this version had the addition of nettles. Unusually for Georgia, this was a wine-less meal, and we enjoyed a delicious cherry compote, water infused with sugar and the fruit which had been picked from Nao’s garden.

Having stuffed ourselves, we then had a hands-on khinkali making session where we were shown how to thinly roll the dough and pleat it around the meat filling before teasing out a little stem. Nao explained the difference between town khinkali and mountain khinkali – the latter are smaller, often made with lamb, rather than beef, and use mountain herbs.
Whilst I thought I’d mastered the technique, when photographs were taken of the finished dumplings, you could clearly tell which I’d made. We were then shown a different style, resembling a Cornish pasty but with an elegant, pleated seal which I struggled to get neat.

The dumplings were then boiled for 15 minutes. Although we’d already been shown how to eat the dumplings by hand in Tbilisi – hold it by the stem, take a small bite from the side and suck and slurp out the hot broth before chewing into the filling – we still didn’t quite manage the knack and ended up with messy chins.

The meal then finished with a bowl of fresh apricots which we struggled to do justice to, but Nao insisted we take with us.

Helen Jackson

Join the club

Become a member to receive exclusive benefits

Our community is the heart of Silver Travel Advisor, we love nothing more than sharing ideas, inspiration, hints and tips between us.

Come feel the love on a Princess cruise. You’ll enjoy the MedallionClass experience others simply can’t, and it’s exclusively for everyone. Visit incredible destinations and be involved in the best experiences around each one of them.

Experience more with Princess and connect effortlessly with the world around you, spend time away with loved ones, take a moment for yourself, and fall in love with your holiday of a lifetime, every time.

With over 20 years of experience, Wendy Wu Tours has mastered the art of creating exceptional, fully inclusive tours which showcase the very best of each destination.

Each tour is led by a world-class guide, who will highlight the very best of their homeland, and includes authentic cultural experiences so you are not just seeing the sights, but truly immersing yourself in local life.

Say hello to ease at sea. Ambassador’s purpose is simple: they want to inspire every guest to experience authentic cruising, effortlessly and sustainably. Passionate about protecting our oceans and destinations, their ships comply with the highest industry emission standards and there is no single-use plastic on board.

On your voyage, you will receive the warmest of welcomes from the Ambassador community as you sail upon the friendliest ships afloat.

This is a global co-operative co-owned by local partners using real local experts and guides, which supports local communities, environments and wildlife. It offers travellers quirky places to stay, activity holidays and learning experiences. Not In The Guidebooks gets travellers off the beaten track into local culture with day experiences and longer, immersive adventures.

From wild wellness breaks in Wales to painting in Portugal, sustainable adventures in Mauritius to food safaris in Brazil, this is immersive, exciting travel.

Seabourn’s five intimate ships carry guests to the heart of great cities, exclusive yacht harbours and secluded coves around the world, while two new purpose-built expedition ships will combine exhilarating adventures in remote destinations with the sophisticated amenities of the world’s finest resorts at sea.

From the luxury of all suite accommodations to complimentary fine wines and spirits, and a no tipping policy, Seabourn exemplifies the definition of travelling well.