Acharuli chlechili Cheese

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Acharuli chlechili is a traditional cheese produced in the autonomous territory of Adjara, in south west Georgia and formed of various thin, but firm strands of cheese. It is similar to the shape of traditional Georgian bread called “lavash”. It is only produced in summer from skim cow milk.

Based on the traditional cheese making method, the milk is first left to acidify at room temperature, when the right acidity is reached the same amount of fresh skim milk is added and then brought to a temperature of 65-70°C. Then the whey of a previous batch is added. The milk continues to heat until a mass of cheese starts to form that is left to cool.
A hole is made in the center of the mass and then pressed to give it the shape of a large donut. The mass is pulled by hand and lengthened.
The donut is then folded over and twisted like a rope. The same identical process is repeated for 2-3 times. This results in four ropes of cheese that are places inside a special mould called “kabitsi” where they are pressed. The cheese is salted when it has cooled. Other layers of cheese are slowly added.
Acharuli chlechili is stored in a cool place for 1 or 2 months before being eaten. There is also a smoked variety.

Acharuli chlechili has a slightly acidic, sharp and rather salty flavor. It is whitish to yellowish in color.

It is rare to find Acharuli chlechili nowadays. It is produced in limited areas, only in summer and requires great effort to make it. A designation of origin has been requested in order to preserve it.

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Nominated by:Maia Stamateli