Supra of Stories

by Jan Chrzan, Katya Krat & Nutsa Lomsadze
Illustrations by Katya Krat, Photos by Nutsa Lomsadze & Katya Krat

Guests in the hinterlands

Walking the landscape of the Georgian hinterlands meant exploring various boundaries between host and guest. A friendly dog would start to bark, and suddenly a spontaneous supra (Georgian feast) begins over brewing coffee. At this moment, strangers become friends.

As we traversed this journey, sounds of life surrounded streets, shops and markets. Houses and garden gates opened to reveal origins, dreams and stories of common grounds through a unique amalgamation of Georgian, Armenian and Azerbaijani cuisine. In this hinterland of Georgia, the spoken languages are intertwined with the country’s soviet history and vision of the future. Some of our fellow field researchers could not communicate verbally with our hosts, so the act of making and consuming food or drink, often using our hands, became our common language.

The hosts of Shulaveri and its surrounding villages shared with us not only a meal but their experiences of family life, love and loss. We heard stories about the life of a thriving factory in soviet times and about the bond between Armenian and Azerbaijani neighbours. We traced our movements across these trails to form a palimpsest of encounters which celebrate these memories through a supra of stories. This supra of stories documents only a small segment of our journey through the site. Thus, the installation aims to honour our experiences with the people we met, the food we ate and the knowledge we gained. In turn, this installation invites others after us to explore common ground and connection through food by laying down this tablecloth to inspire their own supra – expanding the supra of stories.

Tablecloth as Dialogue

In Georgia, a Supra (Georgian: სუფრა) is a traditional feast and an essential part of social culture. The event of a Supra brings people together through an array of dishes and toasts conducted by the Tamada, the duly appointed toastmaster. There are two types of supra: a festive supra (ლხინის სუფრა), called a keipi, and a sombre supra (ჭირის სუფრა), called a kelekhi, that is held after burials.

During our field research at the site of Shulaveri, and its surrounding areas we were invited into many people’s homes and sat around many tables together. As a result, we want to frame the reflection of our experiences as a ‘series of supras’.

To us, the supra of stories relates directly to its linguistic origins, the tablecloth. This tablecloth then threads together a common narrative of this place and its diverse people through the act of eating, making and connecting over time despite differences in language, culture, religion and age.

Each element of our final work is symbolic of our expressions of Shulaveri, Dashtapa and the Krasnoe Village and its inhabitants. Each drawing, pattern and motif is inspired by its resident’s sense of place to celebrate their unique stories and hospitality. The supra of stories table cloth showcases the temporality of a multi-ethnic feast through lines of movement depicted in orange. Another line of movement divides and connects the cloth, and traces our walking journey, moving from region to region to document our experiences from a first-person and aerial perspective. Hand-written recipes in English, Armenian, Azerbaijani and Georgian capture inhabitants’ connection with food and each other, in spite of social or political boundaries.

Walking the Landscape

French philosopher Merleau-Ponty declared that the body constitutes a way to relate, perceive and understand the world. This phenomenological viewpoint suggests that the subject and the world are interlaced to form one. So places like these can act as a site which provides a rootedness to space and a connection to time, embodying both personal perception, memory and action through bodily understanding.

Hence, we saw Shulaveri, Dashtapa and the Krasnoe Village as situated networks of relationships and associations existing in space and time. Our methodology explored the idea of ‘walking the landscape’ to experience and embody the place through our senses. The smells, sounds and actions of each experience between host and guest highlighted its physical value and symbolic importance. This notion emphasizes the relationship between food and society, marking this place as a reflection of cultural significance within the context of Georgia.

Our journey through this site allowed us to enter unique microcosms of intertwined cultures. When walking Shulavari we ventured to Dashtapa, an area mostly inhabited by Azerbaijani residents. Another route took us to the Red Village, a predominantly Armenian area, where Georgian, Azerbaijani and Armenian are spoken interchangeably. Indeed, we found these areas to be a melting pot of Georgian, Armenian and Azerbaijani cultures. We experienced and celebrated each cultural thread that our hosts revealed to us, allowing us to embrace both our differences and commonalities.

Armenian Coffee


  • Ground coffee
  • Sugar
  • Milk


  1. Measure 1 (slightly heaped) teaspoon of coffee and place in the jazve.
  2. If using sugar, measure desired amount and add to the jazve.
  3. Using the espresso cup, measure one cup of cold tap water and add to the jazve.
  4. Place the jazve on the stove top on low heat. Stir to make sure all ingredients combine well and remove the spoon.
  5. Let the coffee rise but do not let it boil over. Remove from heat and enjoy!

Tonis Puri


  • 300 g. Flour
  • 200 ml. Warm water
  • 5 g. (1 tsp) Dry yeast
  • 5 g. (1 tsp) Salt
  • 5 g. (1 tsp) Sugar


  1. In a bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together. Slowly add the water and combine well.
  2. Pour dough onto a countertop and start kneading it until it is doughy. Place back in the bowl and cover with a damp towel for about 1 h.
  3. After an hour you can stretch the dough into a circle or oval and punch a hole in the middle.
  4. Place the dough into a preheated oven at 220 degrees for about 10 minutes. About 5 minutes in, quickly open the oven and sprite the top of the bread with water, to help creating the crusty brown spots on the top.

Dashtapa (Traditional fig preserve with chai)


  • 1 kg. green figs
  • 700 g. sugar
  • 1 1⁄2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon rosewater


  1. Wash the figs in cold water and let them dry completely.
  2. Pour sugar and water into a large pot and put it on heat until it boils, then add the figs to this juice.
  3. Let the jam boil for about 20 to 30 minutes on low heat and the figs soften, add rosewater and lemon juice.
  4. Boil for another 5 minutes, then remove from the heat, pour into a glass jar, and let it cool. Store it in the refrigerator.

Pkhali with garden produce (Krasnoe Village)


  • 300 g. (10 cups) fresh spinach
  • 50 g. (1/3 cup) walnut halves
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 25 g. (1/4 cup) fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon blue fenugreek
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 50 ml. (1/4 cup) sunflower (or any other neutral) oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Pomegranate seeds, for garnish


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add spinach, stir and cook for one minute. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl combine the walnuts and garlic until ground fine then add the spinach and cilantro. Pulse until well-combined and homogenous.
  3. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and add vinegar, coriander, blue fenugreek, cayenne and oil, stir to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover with plastic nd refrigerate mixture until it is firm, about one hour.
  4. With clean hands, shape the pkhali into small balls, 4-6 in total depending on the size you prefer. Garnish with pomegranate seeds, serve and enjoy!

Tastes of Borano (An Adjarian Supra)


  • 100 g Braided Adjarian cheese
  • 50 g Butter


  1. Cut the butter and melt in a pot on high heat till melted.
  2. Pull the cheese apart and add to pot.
  3. Stir till the cheese is cooked in melted butter in a pot.
  4. Serve with with Georgian bread shoti or mchadi (flat cake of corn), a light salad of cucumbers and tomatoes.

Sinori (An Adjarian Supra)


  • Lavas
  • Butter 100 g.
  • Cottage cheese or naduglu (similar to ricotta cheese) 200 g.
  • Salt to taste
  • Georgian soft cheese to taste


  • Melt the butter, add cottage cheese and salt.
  • Wrap lavash and cut it into rolls and cut it into rolls.
  • Separately put the rolls on a heated pan.
  • Pour the mixture over the rolls of lavash, so that it almost covers the pieces.
  • At the end add some grated cheese and cover.
  • Let the dish cook on low heat for 10 minutes and then serve.

Yarpakh Hengel (An Azerbaijani Lunch)


Dough :

  • 2 1⁄2 cups sifted flour (extra flour for kneading and rolling)
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup water (room temperature)


  • 1⁄4 cup oil
  • Salt, pepper
  • Melted butter, yogurt and garlic


  1. Mix the eggs, water and salt in a large bowl.
  2. Gradually add the flour and make a dough that is not very soft.
  3. We knead the dough then start by making a roll & divide it into four parts.
  4. Cover it with a damp cloth and let it rest for 15 minutes.
  5. Roll out dough balls while adding flour gradually.
  6. Cut strips with a width of 1 and a half fingers and then cut into squares.
  7. Sprinkle flour and shake the tray lightly. Thus, we prevent the dough from sticking together by mixing it with flour then let it rest.
  8. Boil water in a large saucepan and add a few drops of oil and some salt to it.
  9. Throw the dough and boil it like boiling pasta without melting it too much and then strain it. Run some cold water over it and let it drain well.
  10. Without waiting too long, we mix our strained dough with yogurt sauce in a deep bowl.
  11. We take it on a serving plate and fry the garlic with butter and drizzle on it.

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