TEA & HONEY TOUR
Summary: During Tea & Honey Tour guests travel through the wonderful lush countryside, past different provinces and tiny communes, up into The Great Caucasus Mountain regions and past lowlands and historic towns in search of as much aroma of tea & honey as possible! Guests taste various types of honey at local farms and meet tea producers in some remote locations.
Day 1 Morning, arrival in Tbilisi. Check-in at the hotel/guesthouse. City sightseeing tour. Explore the historical monuments and cultural sites of the capital. After lunch, brief presentation of Georgian beekeeping traditions. Overnight in Tbilisi. B,-,-
Day 2 Drive to the north-west part of Georgia – to Racha region. Visit a local beekeeper’s farm near Ambrolauri. Observe traditional way of honey producing in Georgia. After lunch, excursion to cultural sites, as well as wine factory in Bugeuli village. Dinner and overnight at a local guesthouse in Ambrolauri. B,L,D
Day 3 Morning, drive to Kutaisi town. Take a local electric train Tkibuli - Kutaisi and experience a ride through Imeretian villages. On the way, pause in Satsire village to visit a tea plantation facility run by local women entrepreneurs. Lunch with herbal tea and honey. Traditional dinner and overnight at a guesthouse in Gelati village, near Kutaisi. B,L,D
Day 4 Morning, excursion to the Gelati Monastery. Visit the local beekeepers’ farms to taste different sorts of honey and to participate in baking traditional bread. Drive to Sataplia National Park and Grotto with various forms of stalactites and stalagmites. Evening, excursion around Kutaisi. Dinner and participation in cooking gozinaki – local dessert made of honey. Overnight at a guesthouse. B,L,D
Day 5 Drive further west to the Guria region. Visit organic farm with fruit gardens, plantations of citruses and bee hives full of honey. Tourists are welcome to taste the excellent local honey with herbal tea. Dinner and overnight at a local farmhouse in Dvabzu village. B,L,D
Day 6 Morning, drive through Guria mountains to visit eco-museum created by the beekeeper and surrounded by lush forests. Traditional lunch accompanied by the honey vodka. Drive back to Tbilisi for ovenight. . B,L,-
Day 7 Departure
Optional Hiking tour in Racha
Full day walking/hiking tour through Sadmeli village, along the hiking trail offering impressive views of mountainous regions and valleys. After a picnic lunch, visit St. George’s Church, explore Sadmeli gorge with a nice waterfall and ruins of medieval towers. Dinner at a local farmer’s ancient wine cellar. Overnight in Ambrolauri. B,L,D
- Gozinaki - a traditionalGeorgian dessert made of caramelized nuts, usually walnuts, fried in honey, and served exclusively onNew Year's EveandChristmas.
- Polyphonic music – Gurian polyphonic singing is renown in Georgia where polyphonic music is famous. Gurian songs generally consist of three or four independent melodies and voices. One of the best examples of the Gurian polyphonic traditions is “Krimanchuli”, a type of yodeling sound. A legend tells of children lost in the forest who made strange sounds to frighten away bad and angry spirits. These sounds are said to be the origin of "Krimanchuli".
- Wine making in Guria – Viticulture in Guria has a long tradition. In this part of the country you can find almost 60 different types of vines. Many travelers compare wine from Guria to French burgundy. One of the most common grapes was imported from Spain in 1832 and is known as the Royal vine.
- Khvanchkara wine of Racha – Red, naturally semisweet wine made from alexandrouli and mujuretuli grapes cultivated in the Khvanchkara winegrowing region near the village of the same name. This wine is pressed and fermented in traditional earthenware kvevri or in open oak vats. The wine has a dark ruby color, strong and harmonious bouquet and velvety taste with raspberry tones.
- Lobio and Lobiani - Soup is made from locally grown red beans (lobio in Georgian) cooked in a clay pot with or without smoked ham. It is a typical dish of the Racha region. Lobiani, or bean pie also has a particular place in local cuisine. The pie is made of dough filled with mashed red beans seasoned with herbs. Lobiani are often served during festivals or other occasions.
- Nikortsminda - The Nikortsminda Cross Domed Church of St. Nicholas the Miracle-worker is located in Nikortsminda village. It is a masterpiece of stone carving and façade decoration. The interior frescoes date back to the 16-17th centuries.
- Barakoni - The Barakoni Church of the Virgin is located in the village of Tsesi and was built in 1753. Of particular interest are the stone engravings on the church’s main façade.
The History of Georgian Honey- Beekeeping in Georgia is closely linked with the history of its people. The oldest works on the region, some written long before Jesus Christ, show that the Greeks came to Georgia to hunt for the pheasants found here. To ensure the game was well preserved for the trip back home, they would immerse the meat in honey-filled amphora acquired in Georgia. Ancient writings recommended bee products to cure the most serious diseases. Beeswax pollen stored in the comb that has undergone fermentation is called scheo in Georgian
The history of Georgian tea- Tea growing began in Georgia around 1830, with skills and plants that arrived from China. The similarity of the subtropical climate of China and West Georgia, especially the Guria region, created the opportunity of growing tea plantations. By the end of the 19th century, fine Georgian tea had won several awards at the international tea exhibitions. With this reputation, Georgia supplied the whole Soviet Union with black and green tea. Today tea production has continued in West Georgia. Besides larger tea plantations and packaging plants, it is also produced by the local, small enterprises.