Dambalkhacho is a unique Georgian type of cheese. The tradition of making Dambalkhacho is spread around the mountainous regions of the country. Today it is made in Pshavi and Tianeti that is situated in the region of Mtskheta-Mtianeti. The cheese is highly valued due to its method of preparation. It takes few months to make it.
The Dambalkhacho is prepared usually in May as it is the best period of milk production. It is made from buttermilk cottage cheese that remains after churning butter. The obtained mass is salted, kneaded by hands into balls and then placed for drying on the “Tskhauri” (a kind of perforated dish) or on special wooden cages hung over a fire. They are dried for several days in a warm room protected from the sun until the balls become dry and dense. After this, the dry balls are placed into a ceramic closed pot and held in a cool and dark place for ripening that takes 1-2 months. It has to be preserved in a cool basement or even sometimes underground, so that a sort of mould can develop on the surface. The cheese is rather spicy with a specific smell. Its consistency is semi-soft and uniform.
Nowadays, due to the complex, time-consuming method of production the cheese is rarely made. Local inhabitants usually prepare it just for home consumption.