We made our first Churchkhela in October this autumn with the help of our guest Naomi from Japan. Naomi enjoys new experiences so teamed up with us to make lots of Churchkhela. She was delighted with the results!
Churchkhela is a traditional Georgian candy which is many people referred to as ‘Georgian Snickers’. It is a healthy combination of grape juice and nuts (walnuts or hazel). You can find Churchkhela hanging in shops and markets across Georgia.
Firstly, we prepare the filling consisting of walnuts. We thread walnut halves facing upwards through the center then cut the thread from the needle and knot both ends. We make strips of up 20cm long. We start by cooking flour and sugar together mixed with grape juice which is boiled and stirred in a metal pot outdoors under a wood fire for 40 minutes. The sticky mixture that results is called Tatara and is dark brown.
While the Tatara is still hot we hold the string at one end then dip the individual walnut parcels into the Tatara to coat them using a wooden spoon and then slowly pull them up and then hang them individually on a pole to dry for 4-5 days until the coating is no longer sticky. Finally, the strings are cut off. Churchkhela is transportable, tasty and healthy providing glucose and protein. The Churchkhela from Kakheti is reputed to be the best in Georgia.
Our family make Churchkhela in October when the weather is still good and sun is shining. In October we harvest our white and black grapes and prepare juice from them. We pick walnuts from our big tree which stands in our garden and from trees along the Alazani River. When we are preparing the walnuts and cooking the Tatara mix it feels like a celebration with everybody joining in. We invite our relatives, neighbours and friends and it becomes a fun social activity make fun with jokes and lots of laughter. After the Churchkhelas is made everyone joins in to eat the remaining Tatara, which is delicious!
Our guests can join in and learn how to make delicious Kakhetian Churchkhela.
Nazy's Guest House
Republic of Georgia