My first taste of Georgian ‘mouthwash’ aka tarragon lemonade

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June, 2023

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After a morning tour of Tbilisi with our guide Sergi, he took us for lunch at Chashnagiri. This was obviously a place popular with guides judging by the number of people Sergi shook hands with.

It was a hot day and as I wanted something refreshing, tarragon lemonade was suggested. The bottle of vibrant green carbonated soft drink looked pretty explosive, and had rather a distinct flavour which wasn’t unpleasant, but having likened it to mouthwash, that’s what it became known as with Sergi asking ‘would you like mouthwash with lunch?’ Manufactured by the Zedazeni Beer Company, I discovered the lemonade came in other flavours: pear, which tasted better, cream, which was worse and lemon, the most palatable. Meanwhile, Roy stuck with Zedazeni beer which on reflection was a good move.

We chose dishes to share, starting with a Greek salad, and spinach pkhali topped with pomegranate – pkhali is a traditional Georgian dish of a single chopped or minced vegetable mixed with a pureed walnut sauce and shaped into a round. For mains we ordered veal ostri, a hot spicy stew, which came with shoti bread to dip into the juices, and a kebab, beef mince shaped into a long sausage, rolled in lavash, a thin flatbread and a jug of BBQ sauce.

The food was excellent and it was clear why the simple restaurant was so popular with guides and their groups.

Helen Jackson

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