Georgian National Ballet : Dance and Dazzle

If Georgia’s cuisine is any indication, this country’s other arts are equally dazzling, especially music and dance. The first time I saw Georgian dancing was when the Georgian National Ballet Sukhishivili-Ramishvili visited Kyiv during my childhood. By then I had already studied classical ballet for several years, so it was hard to impress me with complicated turns or jumps, but when the Georgian troupe took stage, it charged up the whole auditorium with so much energy that for the two hours of the performance I felt myself soaring. I have since seen hundreds of dance performances, both folk and classics, but this feeling of intoxication and euphoria returned only on a few occasions since, the most recent being during Natalia Osipova’s performance of Giselle.

And it’s hard not to be moved watching Georgian dancing with its energy, rhythm, complex technique and precision. The clip above is the rehearsal of the same troupe I saw as a child, but of course, with a new generation of dancers. Sukhishvili-Ramishvili Ballet is based on traditional Georgian dancing, though they incorporate classical ballet elements to polish the movements further. Men dancing on bent toes, though, is part of the traditional repertoire, predating ballet’s en pointe technique. Although this clip is only the rehearsal, it gives you a sense of the troupe’s virtuosity. I watched it at least ten times, and I still hold my breath when the dancers do pirouettes on their knees, then raise themselves en pointe before jumping in the air and holding a trinacria-like shape for what seems like minutes.

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Chanel No 19, No 19 Poudre and Prada Infusion d’Iris Giveaway

Today we have another great giveaway from a reader who would rather find a new home for her perfume than to keep them unworn and unloved in a cupboard. Maria would like to give away three bottles: a 50ml bottle of Chanel 19 EDT, a 100ml bottle of Chanel 19 Poudré and a 100ml bottle of Prada Infusion d’Iris EDP. She will send it all to one person. As she says, “They are all almost full. I used to like them a lot, but I’m pregnant and I can’t stand them anymore. I know from experience (this is not my first pregnancy), that I won’t be able to stand them during breastfeeding and that I would prefer to use colognes and light sprays during this long period of time. So I prefer to give them to a happy new home between your lovely community  of readers :-). I live in Canada, and I could send the bottles almost everywhere, depending on international restrictions.”

In order to enter the giveaway, please answer the following questions for Maria:

  1. “Can you please give suggestions about colognes, natural sprays or eaux fraîches? Until now, the only ones I’ve found beautiful during pregnancy were Guerlain Eau de Cologne du Coq, Sisley Eau de Campagne (before reformulation), and Monsillage Eau de Céleri. I can’t stand sweet and gourmand smells, neither white musks (I think that’s the problem with Chanel 19 Poudré for me now), but I think green and aromatic scents would be good.”
  2. What perfumes make you feel confident, serene, calm and peaceful? This would be useful for a new mom!
  3. If you’re a winner, can I contact you by email and share your email address with Maria?

As always, we are not responsible for customs fees or lost or damaged packages.

The winner is Jaime. Congratulations! I will contact you shortly.

Menu for a Georgian Feast, with Three Cookbook Reviews

My trip to Georgia was a culinary epiphany.  This small country in the Caucasus has one of the world’s most interesting cuisines, full of vibrant combinations of herbs, nuts, pomegranate and spices. It’s also one of the healthiest, offering a wide repertoire of vegetable dishes and herb rich stews (such as chakhokhbili, the chicken tomato stew I shared recently). Among my other favorites are pkhali, vegetable salads in walnut sauce, khachapuri, flatbreads stuffed with cheese, lobio, beans cooked with coriander leaves and walnuts, mtsvadi, grilled meat, and khinkali, juicy, peppery meat dumplings. It is a kaleidoscope of flavors. And just like the Georgian language is related to no other tongue, Georgia’s cuisine is uniquely distinctive.

Three Cookbooks

This fall gives me and other Georgian food lovers a reason to be happy, because there are three new Georgian cookbooks on the market, and all three are excellent. The first one I bought was Supra: A Feast of Georgian Cooking by Tiko Tuskadze. As an introduction to Georgian cuisine, it’s the ideal book. It contains recipes for most of the classics, including five types of khachapuri, the cheese stuffed flatbread, six types of pkhali, a vegetable dish that’s between a salad and a paté, and a wide array of meat, fish and poultry dishes.  I also liked discovering several recipes for adjika (also spelled as ajika), herb and chili pastes that function both as condiments and seasoning sauces. Tuskadze’s red adjika (p.30) is a symphony of chili, parsley, basil, coriander and celery leaves, with a basso profondo note of fenugreek.

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Recommend Me a Perfume : September 2017

Our “Recommend Me a Perfume” thread is now open. You can use this space to share your discoveries and favorite scents, to ask any questions about perfume and to solicit fragrance recommendations.

How does it work: 1. Please post your requests or questions as comments here. You can also use this space to ask any fragrance related questions. To receive recommendations that are better tailored to your tastes, you can include details on what you like and don’t like, your signature perfumes, and your budget. And please let us know what you end up sampling. 2. Then please check the thread to see if there are other requests you can answer. Your responses are really valuable for navigating the big and sometimes confusing world of perfume, so let’s help each other!

To make this thread easier to read, when you reply to someone, please click on the blue “reply” link under their comment.

Photography by Bois de Jasmin

Georgian Chicken Stew with Tomatoes and Herbs : Chakhokhbili

Before the tomato season ends I would like to share a recipe for chakhokhbili, a Georgian chicken stew. It’s a dish that tastes and smells of summer, and I try to make it as often as I can during the months when ripe tomatoes are available. The idea is to cook chicken with onions and towards the end add almost twice its weight in tomatoes and herbs. The tomatoes are cooked only to soften them, which gives the stew a bright, sunny flavor. Few other preparations showcase the simple ingredients–chicken and tomatoes–to such advantage. And if you haven’t cooked Georgian food before, I urge you to start with this recipe and be ready to be dazzled.

Georgia is a country of about four million people wedged between Russia, Turkey, Armenia, and Azerbaijan. In my travels through Georgia it never failed to amaze me how such a small country could produce so many outstanding writers, artists, sculptors and dancers, from painter Niko Pirosmani and poet Tizian Tabidze to ballerina Nina Ananiashvili and choreographer George Balanchine. Today, however, I want to give you a taste of the famed Georgian cuisine, because it’s a heritage worthy of being enshrined by UNESCO, along with Georgia’s unique polyphonic singing.

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Latest Comments

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