Chogi

Only true cheese aficionados can appreciate the full flavor and subtleties of Chogi cheese. Are you up for the taste test?

If you're still on the fence about trying Chogi cheese, let us tell you a bit more about it.

Is Chogi cheese the right fit for you? Keep reading and you'll find out.

Maybe until now you were unaware of the existence of Chogi cheese. Or perhaps you've sought it out because Chogi is your favorite. Either way, we provide plenty of information about this cheese here so you can get to know it better.

Introduction

Chogi cheese is a unique and delicious cheese originating from Tusheti, a small historic mountainous region in northeastern Georgia. It belongs to the administrative region of Mjare in Kajetia. Situated in the North Caucasus, Tusheti is surrounded by the historic region of Khevsouretia, as well as Russian Chechnya and Dagestan. This remote and picturesque region is a true gem of the Georgian Caucasus.

Tusheti: A Hidden Gem

Tusheti is a remote region that can be challenging to access. The road to Tusheti is primarily open from June to early October, and it is advisable to use a 4x4 vehicle and a local guide due to the lack of public transportation. Despite being isolated from the rest of the country for approximately seven months of the year, local shepherds spend their long winters in small parts of the town with their flocks. Tusheti is known for its authenticity, stunning natural beauty, unique architecture, rich traditions, and delicious local beer. It is truly a must-visit destination in Georgia.

The Chogi Cheese Tradition

Georgia is renowned for being one of the oldest wine-producing regions in the world. However, its cheese culture is equally ancient. Chogi cheese has been produced for centuries, although its production significantly declined during the Soviet era. Fortunately, the tradition survived thanks to small-scale national production for self-consumption.

Traditional Cheese Production

Chogi cheese is exclusively made from raw milk from the Tusheti breed of cows. It is produced between July and August, earning its name from the Tushi or Tushase ethnographic group, whose primary activities include agriculture and livestock farming. The high quality of the cheese is attributed to the herbaceous vegetation found in the alpine pastures.

Alpine Pastures and Unique Flavors

The mountain pastures, ranging from 1500 to 3000 meters in altitude, are characterized by a rich herbaceous composition. Herbs such as Calendula, Hogweed, Gallery Lily, Oriental Lily, Highland Ragwort, Meadow Foxtail, Clover, Caucasian Koeleria, and Bromus, among others, provide a unique bitterness and impart a distinctive flavor and aroma to the cheese.

Production Process

The fermented milk is placed in guda, which is a sheepskin, or in barrels, where it is left unsalted for 10 days. It is then cut, hand-salted, and replaced in the guda for another one or two months. Chogi cheese is characterized by its spicy flavor and a very original aroma. It has a yellow color and a buttery texture, although the consistency can vary and sometimes resemble that of a rock. Despite its high fat content, it is a cheese that is enjoyed by many, especially when crumbled over salads or used as a topping for various dishes. It pairs well with local beers or robust blondes.

Conclusion

Chogi cheese is a true delicacy and a testament to the rich cheese-making tradition of Georgia. It is a cheese that encapsulates the flavors and aromas of the pristine alpine pastures of Tusheti. Whether you visit Tusheti or have the opportunity to taste Chogi cheese elsewhere, it is an experience that should not be missed.

✓ Georgia