Georgians make khachapuri (pronounced “hatch-ah-POO-ree”) all across the country. This cheese bread is so popular that economists at Tbilisi State University actually use the dish as a metric for inflation and cost of living between cities. They divide the average household income by the “Kh-index” (the cost of ingredients, as well as energy like gas or electricity, needed to produce one Imeretian-style khachapuri in a given city). This reveals how many servings the average family can afford to make in each city.
Despite the ubiquity of khachapuri, the details of this dish vary by region. It can be double-crusted, round, square, cheese-topped, or cheese-filled. Georgians incorporate a wide array of cheeses and doughs, and will cook it on a stovetop or in the oven. Some versions contain bitter greens or boiled potatoes, while others are filled with whole eggs.
Adjaruli khachapuri, hailing from the Adjara region on the coast of the Black Sea, has three distinct features: an open-faced boat shape, a raw egg, and a pat of butter on top. Adjarians fill their bread boats with sulguni, a brined cow cheese that’s a little bit sour and salty, with the elasticity of mozzarella. Even better, the Kh-index indicates that Adjara is on the up and up. More boat-shaped cheese breads all around!
Need to Know
To properly eat Adjaruli khachapuri, mix the yolk and butter into the melted cheese, then rip off chunks of the bread boat to scoop up the insides. Think of it as an all-in-one fondue.