Souvenirs – what to bring from Georgia as a gift

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When you leave an unforgettable journey, you definitely want to take a piece of that country with you, right? And also delight your loved ones with unusual and interesting gifts. That’s exactly why I’ve compiled a selection of what you can bring from Georgia as a gift. Only the most interesting, colorful, and memorable items!

At the end, you’ll find a list of customs restrictions on the export of goods. Familiarize yourself and carefully count the units of the product you want to take.

Classic souvenirs from Georgia

Let’s start the selection with standard souvenirs, namely magnets, paintings, postcards, and T-shirts. There are hundreds of such places with souvenirs all over Georgia, and in tourist areas, there are even streets with souvenir shops. Socks with khinkali, keychains with pomegranates, busts of Stalin – souvenir shelves are teeming with such trinkets. I recommend getting something with the image of Georgian balconies, which are a national symbol of the country.

Что привезти из Грузии? Магазин с сувенирами

What to buy in Georgia in terms of Spirits

Wine

Visiting Georgia and not bringing back wine is a serious offense. The country has an ancient winemaking culture dating back to the 6th millennium BC. The technology of making wine in qvevri (huge clay vessels buried in the ground) is unique. Nowhere else in the world will you find a similar drink: aromatic, with a velvety deep taste and clay notes.

The key to this is to taste! Head to the wine cellars, of which there are plenty here, and sample different varieties. There, you can also purchase your favorite bottle. Here are the most popular types of wine:

  • Saperavi – red with velvety rich taste and spicy smell.
  • Kindzmarauli – red semi-sweet, produced in Kakheti.
  • Rkatsiteli – white dry or semi-dry with fruit taste.
  • Tvishi – white sweet with honey taste.
  • Khikhvi is red dry or semi-dry with tart taste.
  • Khvanchkara is a red semi-sweet with a taste of berries and dried fruits.

Саперави. Грузинское вино

Chacha, tinctures and liqueurs
on the chacha

This drink is suitable for enthusiasts of very strong alcohol. Chacha is made from grape pomace, bringing it to a strength of 40-70 degrees.

You can find gift-worthy, beautifully packaged bottles in stores, and for strong homemade chacha, head to the market.

Fruit infusions on chacha are especially good; try it with cherry and kiwi – their tartness perfectly harmonizes with the robust taste of the drink.

Other homemade strong fruit drinks are also called chacha here, for example, made from persimmons, apricots, feijoa.

Soft drinks

Georgian lemonade and mineral water

Georgian lemonades are the best in the world. If you disagree, it simply means you’ve never tried them! The main brands, staples at festive tables, include Natakhtari, Kazbegi, and Zedazeni. They are made from spring water with the addition of quality fruit syrups, moderately sweet. Each brand can boast an extensive range of flavors. If you want something unique, try feijoa soda. This is a local fruit of green color, with a taste unlike anything else. There are also grape, tarragon, lemon, and other popular flavors.

Грузинский лимонад в магазине

And, of course, what would it be without the famous mineral water. Shelves in local supermarkets are filled with bottles of Likani and Nabeghlavi. Borjomi is not a very interesting souvenir since tons of this carbonated water are exported. However, for curiosity’s sake, you can buy a bottle and compare whether Georgian mineral water differs from what is available in your country.

Waters like Borjomi and Sairme are best enjoyed directly from the sources. So, if possible, visit these places.

Tea

In Soviet times, Georgia supplied tea throughout the entire union. During the restructuring, this market significantly decreased, but now it is growing again. Green leaves of the “Chinese camellia” (tea) are carefully grown in sunny mountain valleys. They are then harvested, dried, and sent to the shelves of stores.

Supermarkets offer a lot of Georgian tea in tea bags, but in terms of taste, it might not be anything unique. Look for a pack of large-leaf “Gurieli,” “Kantaria,” or “Tkibuli” on the shelf, and here you will already experience a unique taste and aroma.

Грузинский чай

And even better, head to the markets to find dozens of varieties of authentic loose tea. In addition to black and green, there are excellent fruit teas, such as hibiscus, with blueberries, or with citrus.

Cheese

And, of course, what would it be without cheese, the Georgian national product? In mountain villages, during the cold seasons, bread and cheese become the main food for the local population. People endure winter well because this dairy product is rich in proteins, fats, enzymes, and beneficial bacteria for the microflora.

It’s best to buy cheese at a local market or from stalls selling homemade products.

The most reliable for transportation are hard types of cheese, such as dambalkhacho (with mold), sheep, and goat cheese. But even young cheeses like Imeretian and sulguni can withstand the trip home. If you put them in a salt solution, they can last for more than 40 days. Alternatively, you can buy them in a store in vacuum packaging.

Sauces

The use of various sauces is deeply rooted in local culture. They are added to almost all dishes or eaten simply with lavash. The most popular ones include:

  1. Satsebeli – a sauce made from tomatoes and spices with a spicy taste and aroma; eaten like ketchup with potatoes, added to meat dishes.
  2. Tkemali – a sour sauce made from red or green plums with the addition of pepper and spices; used in soups, with meat, or eaten with cheese.
  3. Narsharabi – a sweet and sour, spicy pomegranate sauce; used to make marinades, dressings for salads, served with meat dishes. This sauce is not of local origin but is very delicious and has become well-established in the region.

Spices

Just take a walk through residential areas of the city, and the spicy aroma of dishes that caring housewives prepare in their kitchens will hit your nose. But what is this magical ingredient that locals add to food, making it so tasty and aromatic? Of course, spices. Adjika and khmeli-suneli, Imeretian saffron, cilantro, and the queen of spices – Svan salt.

Грузинские специи

In the proportions of this mixture, salt should not exceed half; the rest consists of spices. According to legend, in Upper Svaneti, there was no salt, and it was brought from the “big land.” Since the paths leading to the region were blocked by snow for 9-10 months a year, salt had to be used sparingly. Resourceful Svans came up with the idea of adding spices to increase the volume. It is believed that in the classic version, there are 12 different spices present.

Сванская соль

Svan Salt is a versatile spice that you can add everywhere, whether it’s vegetables, fish, or a meat marinade. Just cut cucumbers and tomatoes, sprinkle them with Svan salt, and you’ll get a unique “Georgian” salad!

Important! Svan salt should not be added during cooking. Most of the spices will lose their taste and aroma. Add this seasoning to the finished dish. For example, I love putting it on fried potatoes. When I turn off the stove, I sprinkle the dish with Svan salt, cover it with a lid for a minute. Done! Finger-licking good!

If you’re wondering what to buy in Georgia for a cooking enthusiast, here’s a great gift idea. It is sold everywhere: in markets, supermarkets, and souvenir shops.

Where to buy churchkhela in Tbilisi

The infamous, globally known Eastern sweet is, of course, churchkhela. Its homeland is Georgia, and it was invented as a convenient snack for warriors that would instantly provide strength and energy. No wonder, as it is made from walnuts or hazelnuts and thickened grape juice. In the classic recipe, churchkhela was made from red or green grapes, but now you can find dozens of new varieties, such as kiwi, apple, pomegranate, plum juice. Also, besides nuts, prunes and dried apples are sometimes added to the sweet.

While churchkhela is soft, it is tastier and easy to chew. However, if not eaten immediately, it hardens and develops a white sugary coating. In this state, it is still edible and can be stored for at least a couple of months.

Here are places where you can buy churchkhela in Tbilisi:

  • Desert Market (metro «Station Square»).
  • The Lutluga Market (metro «Samgori»).
  • Shop BADAGI (4 Roman Miminoshvili Street).
  • Natural products store KHURJINI (4 Roman Miminoshvili Street).
  • In Mtskheta at Svetishkoveli (near Tbilisi) Churchil is very tasty and soft. If you’re passing through, make sure you take a shot.

Georgian sweets

Tklapı (fruit pastille)

Tklapi is thin sheets of dried fruit puree, similar to fruit leather. It is most commonly made from plums, but you can also find versions made from feijoa, apple-strawberry, and many others. This treat is not only convenient for transport and storage but also very healthy. You can eat it yourself and give it to children since tklapi contains natural fructose but no added sugar. However, tklapi is not entirely sweet; it has a good amount of tartness. Try it before buying, as it may not suit everyone.

Тклапи - грузинская пастила

Chiri (dried persimmon)

Chiri is dried persimmon, often strung on a thread, a favorite treat for Georgians during the New Year holidays.

You often see these orange “garlands” hanging at the market stalls. There may be white streaks on the dried fruits – nothing to worry about; it’s sugar crystallized during drying. Buy with confidence.

Чири - сушенная хурма

In winter, it has the lowest prices (fresh harvest dries out by the New Year). In summer, there are fewer persimmons, and the price is about twice as high as in winter.

Chestnut honey

In Georgia, there is a vast assortment of honey varieties, as beekeeping is well-developed, especially in the west. There is linden honey, acacia honey, raspberry honey, walnut blossom honey, but among all, I want to highlight chestnut honey.

Каштановый мёд с орехами

Only the Caucasian bee can collect chestnut honey. Do you know why? Its sting is a millimeter longer than that of other species, allowing it to reach the necessary nectar. Yes, our bees even have long noses, and that’s their advantage and uniqueness!

It is considered the most beneficial among all types, improving the functioning of the cardiovascular system, treating colds and bronchitis, and assisting with allergies. It has a dark color, rich aroma, and a subtle bitterness in taste. Bring at least one jar of chestnut honey with you, and it will become your reliable go-to remedy for many ailments.

Jam

On the shelves of stores, you will encounter many exotic varieties of jams and preserves. How about trying jams made from kiwi, figs, mandarins, feijoa? However, the most unusual one would be walnut jam. It’s a classic Georgian recipe where green walnuts are soaked in water and lime, and then boiled in syrup. Cloves, cinnamon, and cardamom are also essential ingredients, giving it a distinctive flavor.

Варенье из экзотических фруктов в Грузии

The finished dessert has a sweet and spicy taste, and I can assure you that you are unlikely to find such exotic flavors anywhere else.

Ceramic Products

The production of ceramic items has been widespread in Georgia since ancient times. Various clayware can be found at market stalls, specialized stores, and supermarket shelves. Consider the following:

  1. Wine Pitchers – Doki: These come in different shapes and sizes, adorned with geometric or floral patterns. Each one is unique, as handcrafting prevents the creation of identical pieces.
  2. Ketsi – Multifunctional Clay Pan:*This handleless clay pan is suitable for baking, frying, and serving. An additional advantage is that it allows cooking without adding oil, preventing anything from sticking.
  3. Set of Handmade Clay Plates or Coffee Service: These make excellent souvenirs from Georgia and thoughtful gifts for your loved ones.

Note: Do not pour cold water on hot ceramics, as it may crack or break.

Кувшины и домашнее вино в магазине

 

Wine horn

The tradition of using wine horns dates back to at least 6,000 years BCE, coinciding with the development of winemaking. Crafted from the horns of cloven-hoofed animals (such as bulls, buffaloes, and sheep), the wine horn symbolizes “the horn of plenty.” Those who drink from it are believed to attract prosperity and luck. While horns were previously adorned with precious stones and metals, authentic ones with such embellishments are rare today. Horns with genuine gemstones can be purchased only by special order from specialized craftsmen.

Канци - рог для вина

The horn for wine is simply and aptly called ‘Kantsi’ in our country.

Do you know where the world’s largest Kantsi is located? It’s at the Nika Hotel. Here, it stands 9 meters tall! And this is just one of the 14 unique photo zones in the park at the hotel.

Souvenir shops and flea markets are full of wine horns. However, the truth is that the majority of these items are plastic imitations. How to distinguish a fake horn from a real one? First, pay attention to the surface: if it’s smooth, you can confidently say that it’s ordinary plastic. If you feel roughness, unevenness, and small chips, it’s likely a real horn. The second criterion is color and smell. The item should have a slightly brownish, uneven color. Take a sniff: if you detect a faint animal scent, then the horn is genuine.

Minankari (Filigree Enamel Jewelry)

Minankari is a complex jewelry technique that originated in Georgia thousands of years BCE. Initially, metal partitions are crafted, a meticulous process as the material must be bent into tiny sections. Enamel of specific colors is then poured into each section. The result is exquisite jewelry, remarkable for both its beauty and the intricacy of its production. While minankari was historically made from gold, contemporary pieces often feature silver partitions.

Papakha

Papakha is a traditional Georgian hat made of sheep’s wool, usually in white or black. Locals no longer wear these headgear, but they produce them for tourists who eagerly buy them. This hat can be a decoration on your shelf, reminding you of your journey to hospitable Georgia. Alternatively, you can use it for its intended purpose and wear it as it is very warm!

Сувениры в Грузии

I found the most pleasant prices for papakhas in Sighnaghi and on the Military-Georgian Road. In Tbilisi and Batumi, prices are higher.

Antiques from flea market

Artefacts from local flea markets can make excellent souvenirs for collectors and those who appreciate items with history. These markets offer a variety of finds, including vinyl records, record players, coins, stamps, vintage toys, jewelry, cameras, china sets, clocks, and numerous other intriguing discoveries. Bargaining is common at these markets, and you are likely to secure a better price.

If you’re in Tbilisi, check out the Dry Bridge Market. It’s the largest and most popular flea market in the city, conveniently located not far from the center. Be cautious when purchasing silver items there, as vendors may try to sell stainless steel at inflated prices.

Сухой мост, Тбилиси

Also, take a look at traditional Georgian daggers. They are mostly decorative, not sharp, but are beautifully adorned with carvings and colorful stones on the hilt and sheath.

Handmade «Pardagi» carpets

The “Pardagi” carpet is a traditional Georgian decorative element crafted from sheep’s wool on wooden looms. This type of carpet is lightweight and does not have long pile, making it resistant to accumulating dust. Pardagi carpets are not typically used on the floor; instead, they adorn walls in homes or serve as dividers between rooms. These carpets come in a variety of colors and patterns, including geometric designs, depictions of animals, pomegranates, and symbolic Georgian ornaments. While this decor item may be relatively expensive, its cost is justified by the entirely handmade process and the exclusivity of the production technique.

Where to buy souvenirs in Tbilisi

Here are some good places to buy souvenirs in Tbilisi:

  • At the top of the rope to Narikala there is a point where in addition to refreshments, there are souvenir rows with magnets, postcards and other details.
  • Fair on Rustaveli Avenue, left of the metro «Freedom Square». This fair is a temporary phenomenon, most often stands in the summer and on holidays. In addition to the usual souvenirs, there are a lot of interesting handmade things, clothes local designers, candles, handmade soap, etc.
  • The flea market on Dry Bridge. They sell antiques, jewelry, vinyl records, crystal and other interesting things. Go there for rare unusual finds.
  • The deserter market, which is located near the railway station w/d – a great place to buy edible souvenirs. Churchkhela, Tklapi, honey, wine, homemade chacha, a variety of cheeses, spices – here of excellent quality and at good prices.
  • Fabrika Tbilisi – art space with coworking, cafes and restaurants, lounge areas. In addition to this, exhibitions of Georgian brands, ceramics, paintings and other products are regularly held at the Factory. Everything can not only be seen, but also bought.

Сувениры Грузии: носки с хинкали

Where to buy souvenirs in Batumi

  • The Old Town is the first place where you can buy souvenirs in Batumi. Here and there you will find shops with carpets, wine horns, magnets, paintings and other.
  • Boni Grocery Mart. Go there for fruit, churchkhela, spices, homemade wine and chacha.
  • Batumi Boulevard – a park on the seashore, where you can ride on the Ferris wheel, and souvenirs to buy relatives.

Магазин с сувенирами на батумском бульваре

Customs regulations and restrictions on departure from Georgia

  • Any jewelry, antiques, daggers, sabres (and other cold weapons) must be declared. The export of cultural property must be authorized.
  • When leaving Upper Lars, you can have 3 liters of alcohol per person without a declaration or 5 liters of declared (paying 10 euros for each additional); 10 packs of cigarettes and 250 grams of tobacco.
  • When flying in your luggage can not have more than 5 liters of wine per person. Be sure to look for restrictions on importing into the country where you are going; In Georgia, the rules of export are quite liberal.
  • All piercing objects, liquids, toothpastes, cosmetics, etc. must be checked.

Магниты сувениры в Батуми

Questions on the topic:

What to bring from Georgia as a gift?

You can bring wine from the qvevri, tinctures on the tea, traditional sweets, seasonings and sauces, elements of folk costumes, wine horn, carpets, decorations in the technique of minankari.

What to bring from Georgia with food?

Look at the cheese, sauces (tkemali, sacebel, narsharab), dried persimmon, exotic jam, chestnut honey, pastille.

What to bring from Georgia to the child

Pastille weatherpaws (tasty and useful delicacy), churchkhela, handmade doll in the national Georgian suit, dads, girls may like earrings or pendant in the technique of minankari.

Is it profitable to buy gold in Georgia?

Yes, it’s a bargain. In Tbilisi there is a Gold Market with a large variety of gold products at excellent prices. The only quality, relative to some decorations, leaves much to be desired, as good gold alloys are not always used. Batumi also has a gold market. It is located at the Plaza Mall.

Is it possible to carry souvenir magnets into your hand luggage?

It is possible to carry magnets and other souvenirs in hand luggage, except those indicated in the section «Customs rules and restrictions when leaving Georgia» (read above).

What should I bring from Batumi?

Magnetik with statue «Ali and Nino», papakha, suluguni cheese, churchkhela from Boni market, chacha, wine, dried persimmon, Adjarian tea.

What to bring from Tbilisi?

Wine, antiques from Dry Bridge, jewelry from the Gold Exchange, walnut jam, hairless carpet.

Where to buy wine in Tbilisi?

In the Wine Gallery (39 Tsinamdzgvrishvili Street), Wine Time (18 Samreklo Street), Winery Khareba (50/1 Shota Rustaveli Ave), Karahvili wine cellar (19 Vertskhli St), and of course, in the classic version, at the Desert market local traders.

 

 

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