Svaneti has one of the original and extraordinary kitchen among the rest of the Georgian regional cuisines. It is mainly based on meat and milk products, but the Svan meals wouldn't be this delicious and aromatic if our ancestors hadn't created Svanetian Salt.
This fragrant spice is available at shops and markets, but they can't even get closer to the real Svan salt which is made by local Svanetian housewives based on local products.
Svan salt is a collection of spices which form a single, fragrant harmonious bouquet. It consists of yellow flower (aka Imeretian saffron), chili pepper, dried coriander seeds, blue fenugreek, garlic and a genuine Svan spice – Gitsruli – herb growing exclusively in Svaneti.
Before combining with other ingredients Gitsruli gets dried, ground and salted. Because of its shortage, mass producers usually substitute it with cumin and thyme.
How does the real, high-quality Svan salt look like?
First of all, it must have a single balanced aroma. It should be properly dried and have an airy consistency and light color. If you find the salt wet, it means they've mixed it up with an unnecessary amount of garlic, influencing its taste.
Svans use the salt to season boiled and roasted meat and Kubdari stuffing. It’s added to cucumber and tomato and other plain salads and soups. The Svan salt tastes best with tomato-stewed meat and boiled potatoes.