People having visited Georgia often remember the fabulous feel of Tbilisi. It is very easy to fall in love with this little city. Tbilisi inhabitants try to keep old traditions and at the same time follow modern life tendencies. It is a city where trendy hotels neighbor with little hostels; chic shopping brands are located next to vintage shops and expensive restaurants stand grandly next to tiny bakeries selling hot Khachapuri from narrow windows straight onto streets.
Many Tbilisi dwellers spend their summer vacations not only in prestigious resorts, but in native villages as well. It is a kind of tradition to keep a connection with ancestors and relatives living in the countryside and providing families with organic food from their gardens.
Such natural home-grown product is sold at the agrarian market “Dezertirebi” (metro-station “Station Square”) which is one of the most vivid and chaotic places in cheap Tbilisi. Here you can find ecologically healthy and tasty organic fruits and vegetables, fresh meat and a wide selection of cheese.
The famous Georgian feast cannot be imagined without cheese. If you visit Samegrelo region, try smoked Sulguni. Imereti is famous for holey cheese. In Samtskhe-Javakheti you will be able to take delight from moldy Chechili, and piquant Tushuri Guda will amaze you in Kakheti.
It is possible to buy good-quality Georgian cheese near “Dezertirebi” market. Farmers from villages often sell their produce in Tbilisi, for example: high-quality Guda cheese from Javakheti can be purchased near the market, along Abastumani Street. There are approximately 60 varieties of cheese in Georgia, but cheese from Imereti and Sulguni are most popular among them.
“Cheese House” located at 20a A. Kazbegi Avenue in Tbilisi is a real oasis for gourmands, offering a large selection of cheese made according to sometimes forgotten Georgian recipes.
If it is your first visit to Georgia, you should know that there are fixed prices in supermarkets, drug-stores and restaurants, but it is possible to bargain while buying products and clothes at the market. Before going to such places, it is better to leave your jewelry at home, keep your wallets in zipped pockets, avoid curious people asking many questions about the aims of your visit and refuse to buy products which have been laying straight under the sun.
“Dezertirebi” market is spread over 20 000 square meters and is equipped with a modern lab and 500 shops. In Asian countries it is very common to bargain in markets as well as in electronics and jewelry shops, but the Georgian sellers much differ from their Asian “colleagues” in that they might only slightly reduce a price and, especially if you are buying large quantities. But it is possible to bargain here at the “Golden market” – which is also located at the station square, near the metro-station, offering a wide collection of Georgian cloisonné enamel, Turkish gold and silver souvenirs.
Metro-station “Station Square” is a real oasis for photographers inspired by the Soviet exotic. Here you can also find a partly-roofed trade fair selling everything – accessories, clothes, shoes, plates and dishes, cosmetics, sweets, packaged food and other goods. You can come across here cellar-type Sakhinkles (little restaurants serving traditional Georgian Khinkali), little cafes serving Turkish Shawarmas, kvass barrels … and lots of fussing customers. This place gets quiet only around at 9 p.m. but this “harmony” does not last long- just until sunrise when the noisy buzz again captivates station square and its surroundings.