The ancient history of wine and viti-culture existing in Georgia is supported by discovery of vine, grape-stones and a vine-containers “kvevri” - clay vessel for wine storage, goblets, existing of grape and vine divinity – Aguna (10-9th B.C.), and Badagone ( 7-6th B.C.), the astrological calendar and the fact, that St. Nino baptized Georgia (337) with vine’s cross in her hand. No other country’s cuisine and local wine is so harmonic as in Georgia. …and the symbol of this phenomenon is “Tamada” and institute of toast-maker.
It is extraordinary, the Georgian “multilevel” table with “secrets” of cooking, ancient traditions of table serving, a large selection of wines, sophisticated test of Georgian cuisine, wide scale of agricultural products, table-toasts, fun, and festivities provided by “Tamada” is accompanied with folk songs and dances.
In Georgia Supra (dinner-table) has an ancient time tradition. The table is managed by toast-maker “Tamada”. Tamada is elected on democratic basis by table participants but he is the only monarch of the table. Tamada professionally manages the table – raises his glass of wine proposing a toast and telling about the history of the country and its culture. He is full of witty, humor and cheerfulness. As soon as you display interest, knowledge and witt you’ll become the most desirable participant of the table. If you are able to drink enough wine and be a competitor to Tamada, you have a chance to take management in your own hand and become Tamada.
The toast proposed by Tamada is obligatory for any participant. After his toast you must propose toast yourself, extend or add to his toast, give your own interpretation and if it is possible, drink the glass to the bottom. You’ll be excited by Institute of Tamada. He will raise toast to your parents, children, family and country accompanying his speech by Georgian folk songs singing. You will have a possibility to study Tamada’s traditions, become a bit tipsy, but get a belief that Georgian wine is exotic. You will fall in love at once, and get an urge to taste it again.
Festive table menu provides a wide choice of the Georgian dishes and wines. Election of Tamada adds another element of local flavor and exotic taste to the rare rituals of Georgian feasting; the latter imply special steps and stages, like selection of sorts of wines that suit best to the dishes and general atmosphere, appointment of the person with the rank of the deputy tamada, selection of glasses, goblets, drinking bowls that appear proper for the toasts to come, introduction of the guests to the “table codex”, tamada’s first toast… If a guest proves physical and spiritual endurance to the amounts of alcohol, and demonstrates the knack for eloquent rhetoric, singing and dancing, crowned with sense of humor and knowledge of the Georgian ways and traditions, he is bound to deserve the general admiration of guests and is viewed as the possible successor of Tamada – simply by outplaying his role and function.
Guide to Caucasus - Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan