What is the Georgian Supra? Discover traditional feasts in Georgia

Ethnographer restaurant: mesa pronta para o supra georgiano.
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2024-05-02

The Supra is a cultural celebration and a reflection of Georgian generosity and hospitality. In other words, it is much more than a dinner with abundant food.

During my trip to Georgia, I had the opportunity to participate in a traditional supra at the Ethnographer Restaurant and loved the experience.

It was the perfect combination of delicious food in a lively traditional atmosphere!

So, in this article, I’ve gathered all the information about what a Georgian supra is and what happens during one.

You’ll also find information on how to participate in a traditional Georgian supra, which, although expensive, I believe is worth it for the experience.

But, since we don’t always have a generous travel budget, I’ve included different alternatives to the traditional supra, which, while not the same, are a good way to enjoy Georgian hospitality.

So, shall we dive in?

What is a Georgian Supra?

"corno" para bebidas, usado durante um supra.
“Horn” for drinks, used during georgian supra.
Música e dança num supra no Ethnographer restaurant.
Music and dance at a georgian supra in the Ethnographer restaurant.
Ethnographer restaurant: mesa pronta para o supra georgiano.
Ethnographer restaurant: table for the Georgian supra.
Música tradicional da Geórgia.
Traditional music of Georgia.
Espectáculo de dança no Ethnographer restaurant.
Dance performance at the Ethnographer restaurant.
Decoração no Ethnographer restaurant. Supra em Tbilisi.
Decoration at the Ethnographer restaurant. Supra in Tbilisi.
Música durante um Supra em Tbilisi. Ethnographer restaurant.
Music during a Supra in Tbilisi. Ethnographer restaurant.

Georgian supra is a banquet that celebrates something important. But it’s not just any party!

In fact, there’s a whole ceremonial aspect that needs to be followed in a traditional supra.

So, besides unbelievable amounts of food, a supra also typically includes music. And where there’s music, there’s usually dancing, right? Therefore, supras often feature plenty of music and dancing.

Moreover, another crucial aspect of a traditional supra is the toasts.

The tamada is the person responsible for making toasts during the supra, usually the most important figure in the celebration. It could be the host or an honored guest.

Every time the tamada decides to make a toast, everyone raises their glass, drinks, and says “gaumarjos”.

Traditionally, the first toast made in a supra is for peace, and the second is for Georgia.

Then follow as many toasts as the tamada deems fit, with wishes of health, happiness, and prosperity for all. The most intense celebrations are the ones with many, many toasts.

During the breaks between toasts, it’s essential to eat, not only to dilute the alcohol consumed but also to taste the traditional food. Individual dishes are not usually served; instead, shared platters are brought to the table.

Now do you understand why a supra often lasts for hours?

How was my experience?

Pkhali, entradas georgianas.
Pkhali, Georgian appetizers.
Salada georgiana, no Etnographer Restaurant.
Georgian salad, at the Ethnographer Restaurant.
Picles de vegetais.
Vegetable pickles and Jonjoli.
Comida tradicional georgiana servida durante um supra.
Traditional Georgian food served during a supra.
Elarji: Comida tradicional georgiana servida durante um supra.
Elarji: Traditional food served during a georgian supra.
Chakapuli: Comida tradicional georgiana servida durante um supra.
Chakapuli: Traditional Georgian food served during a supra.

The supra I participated in was a great experience!

I arrived with a group of friends at the Ethnographer restaurant and were warmly welcomed with a glass of chacha in hand. The other option was the traditional Georgian amber wine, which is produced in clay amphorae.

The music, the decor of the space, and the staff in traditional clothing created an atmosphere reminiscent of a celebration from another era.

In just a few minutes, steaming baskets of bread arrived, with which we made sandwiches filled with Sulguni cheese and fresh vegetables. So delicious!

After a bit of chatter, we were invited into the dining room. And what a room it was!

Rustic walls contrasting with the luxury displayed on the long tables. Fabric tablecloths and napkins, tall candlesticks, and platters filled with delicacies.

Colorful Pkhali interspersed with cheese plates, jonjoli, and pickled vegetables. Fresh salads and baskets of bread.

Then came the hot dishes, such as the traditional elarji and chakapuli. Lots of conversation, lots of music, lots of dancing, and, of course, lots of toasts!

I also had the experience of drinking from a horn, which I highly recommend!

How to Have a Georgian Supra in Tbilisi?

Tbilisi, a capital da Geórgia.
Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia.
Khachapuri pronto para o forno.
Khachapuri ready for the oven. Georgian cooking class at the Georgian House.
Ambar wine no Georgian House.
Amber wine toast at the Georgian House.
Comida tradicional georgiana: khinkali.
Traditional Georgian food: khinkali.
Aprender a fazer Churchkhela, o doce nacional da Geórgia.
Learning to make Churchkhela, Georgia’s national sweet.
Brinde de chacha no Georgian House.
Toast with chacha at the Georgian House.

The supra isn’t a cheap experience, as it includes not only food and drinks but also music and dances.

Moreover, at the heart of this kind of celebration lies a banquet for many people that lasts for hours.

So, if you’re in Tbilisi with a group of friends, I recommend checking out this tour:

It’s not for every budget, as I mentioned, but remember, it’s a party that promises to be etched in your memory forever!

However, I didn’t want to overlook another alternative to the supra, which is to take a Georgian cooking class or a food tour. Although not as grandiose as the supra, I find it to be a quite enjoyable activity, even for small groups.

And most importantly, it’s much more affordable than a supra banquet!

*I participated in a supra at an event organized by the Georgian Tourism Board and as part of the Traverse Events. The chosen venue was the Ethnographer restaurant.

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