How the Georgian cheese bread khachapuri got a fast food makeover
An enterprising new café in Tbilisi is selling pizza-styled slices of the classic dish
If there’s one thing food lovers know about the Black Sea country of Georgia it’s that they are the creators of khachapuri. The fantastical melted-cheese-and-egg-filled bread—invariably served outside Georgia in a style best described as a cheese boat—has captivated international social media for years.
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In Georgia, it’s almost impossible to find a restaurant, café or roadside eating establishment that does not serve the national dish, beloved by locals and the first thing ordered by most tourists who visit the country. The pastry, which comes in different forms around the country, but often stuffed with cow’s milk cheese and that sunny-looking fresh egg yolk, is made to order and served hot, to be eaten with a knife and fork sitting down at the table. In 2019, it was listed as “culturally intangible” by the Georgian National Agency for Cultural Heritage Preservation.
The dish is so popular that even the local International School of Economics at TSU (ISET) tracks the khachapuri index of inflation using a basket based on dish’s ingredients: flour, cheese, yeast, milk, eggs, butter. (In November, it up an eye-opening 27.3% year over year; the cost of flour increased almost 20% and cheese was up over 35%.)
Now the Georgian centerpiece is getting a significant modern update. Gunda, a new bakery and cafe in Tbilisi, is…