Georgian Awards

Favourite Qvevri

The clay jar on which I left my steaming wet pawprints at Makatubani, signed but not sealed with a loving set of dabs.

Favourite unpronounceable grape

Favourite Monastery

Ikalta – felt like a set for a Jane Austen movie (for some reason) with qvevris

Most Laid-Back Dude Award

Plenty of candidates for champion bus snoozers, but Fifi* was a study in ambient horizontal relaxation and cool t-shirts.

*Philippe Essome, 10 Bells, New York

Favourite Wine

Ramaz Nikoladze’s Tsitska – aka the tea-seeker, earth to glass, pure class, a vivid wine with electrifying energy.

Iago award for hospitality

Iago Bitarishvili – generous dispenser of new-minted wine, beautiful food, good humour and chacha

Brilliant behind-the-scenes organisation

Ia Tabagari – the trip ran on well-oiled ball bearings

Indefatigable good humour, profound mine of information

Queen Tamara of the microphone who perpetually bubbled to prevent toil and trouble

All-around Tamada, grand facilitator, steward of all good things

The one and only John Wurdeman

Best Natural Wine Bar in Sighnaghi (pop 2,900)

Pheasant’s Tears. Actually, a superb wine bar with delicious food by any standards

Alien versus Predator scenario (AKA Cha Cha versus Wine)

Draining the horn versus chugging the cha cha.

Best Saperavi moment

Forcible baptism via jug. You know what I’m talking about.

Best Bread

Nazuki (the sweet bread) or Khachapuri (the love boat). The love boat wins by a short egg.

As Hoc Cake Award

This appeared out of clear blue sky. Of course, I didn’t have any. Well, if you insist. Seconds? Don’t mind if I do.

Best Beans

Lobio at Salobie – beaux kidneys.

Favourite Fruit

Wild strawberries, sour green and yellow cherries, mulberries, toms of various hue – all darn fine

Best Condiment

The ubiquitous Tkemali – a sour green cherry-plum chutney with dill that one slathers over chicken or pork dishes with alacrity. Special mention for the equally ubiquitous walnut sauce.

Best Singers

All polyphonically choral-tastic!

Best Non-Georgian Toaster

Our Alice proved that some of the best words are not just generated by Macs

Mein Other Host

Max Johnson proving that some of the best words are generated by Max

Lorelei award

Primoz Stager, a man prepared to sing for your supra

Most Surreal Meal

Freak-out-food-fest at Zghapari Riverside Restaurant. Duck all the way from the very local swimming pool, literally dressed-up kid with black olives for eyes, stuffed with chicken which in turn was stuffed with quail, and a whole giant carp that looked as if it was wearing lipstick.

Mention in despatches for dinner at Chateau Mere set a world record for the number of plates used for a meal in a quirkily furnished dining room with plinky-plonk piano churning out dirges whilst the pianist sluiced regularly from a pint glass of wine.

Best Fresco

Al Fresco lunch at Iago’s

Youngest Assistant Winemaker

Alaverdi Monastery Award for skilful handling of corkscrew

Father Gerasim

Most Interesting Coffee Experience

Waiting 20 minutes for a tall mug of espresso at Calypso’s books in Tbilisi

Café ole in Kutaisi hotel? A combined sachet of coffee granules and milk powder to dump into a teacup of boiling water. Here’s mud in your eye.

Norwegian coffee aficionado, Frederik Kolderup, the man with the foresight to bring his own coffee beans, hand grinder and filters.

Most Curious Thing Available to Buy at a Market

Snake-eating birds

“Tom-marlborough” Award For Interesting Market Stall Juxtaposition

Most Interesting Sales Pitch at Georgian Wine Expo

The Qvevri Cleaning Machine

Best Invisible Mountain Range on trip

The Greater Caucasus

Does What It Says On The Label Award

Doorway Which Most Sums Up Georgia

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