“The house was surrounded by a large yard and an orchard where apples, pears, figs and mulberries grew. Even now, I can still recall the smell of mulberries beneath the tree. From the entrance to the yard, a belt of grapevines stretched up to the orchard. There were chickens in the yard. I remember, once the cock scared me so much, that I kept a safe distance from them, ever since. And we also had a dog, faithful and clever one. Whenever a stranger went into the yard, our dog was barking at him but on the day of the feast, he welcomed all guests, friendly waving his tail as if telling even I know what Georgian hospitality is all about … “
“Georgian taste” by Vaho Babunashvili, Radek Polak
“Georgian taste” and the photos of Radek Polak are both full of charm and sensuality. While reading the book, we are moving into distant Georgia, tasting every word, like a bite of delicious food. “Georgian taste” is not an ordinary recipe book, it is not only a collection of culinary rites, it is much more – food becomes a pretext to talk about a certain reality and sensitivity; which is why the title word taste can be treated literally as well as figuratively – the way one of the co-authors writes: “Taste is a complex phenomenon. It is everything: smell, sound, ambient temperature, air humidity, socio-economic reality, peoples temperament, their character and attitude to life – in short, everything what in combination, gives something unique, which can not be obtained in a different way. “
On July 11, at the New World of Music Radek Polak – a photographer, a traveller and a great fan of Georgia, with whom we will set off in October to discover the mysterious Pankisi Valley told us about the Georgian taste. The meeting was a kind of a feast where guests could taste Georgian delicacies seasoned with regional wine and listen to stories about travels and people living in Georgia. Radek’s tales from time to time were interrupted by anecdotes and memories of David Turkestanishvili, the chef of the Rusiko restaurant, who, like every Georgian, knows everyone including Radek. To the delight of the guests David even made a toast – according to the tradition, at every supra (Georgian feast) the tamada (master of ceremony) from time to time makes toasts giving pretext to those gathered to reach for a glass of wine. It was similar at our meeting, after all it was an evening devoted to Georgia and Georgians, so it couldn’t pass without Georgian culture an traditions put into practice. Radek’s photos vernissage was also graced by the pre-premiere screening of his film, shot in the Pankisi Valley, which we will soon visit together at our workshops.
A vernissage of photos, a book, Georgian music in the background, delicious food and the presence of many Georgians in the room made us almost forget the streets of Warsaw behind the windows and for a moment we were moved to another reality. We were brought down to the earth only by the performance of the pianist, who, when asked to perform a Georgian piece for the piano, asked sheepishly, “Can I play Chopin?”. So there was everything – Georgia and Poland, happy tales and serious reflective moments. The history of Georgia, like the history of our country, is not simple and is not all roses – maybe that’s why these two nations understand each other well and give each other mutual respect. It is difficult to write about all this, certain things and feelings can not be easily put into words – it’s best to just try, experience them. We encourage you to read Radek’s book, and to look at his photos from Georgia, and in the end you would not be afraid and dare go to those regions!
It’s really worth it!