It was nearly two years ago when I first laid eyes upon churchkhela (still though, I struggle to pronounce it). I had just arrived in Tbilisi and it was my first day roaming around and exploring the city. Not yet ten minutes into the walk, I past a street side food stand selling these long and colorful, stick-shaped things. Some were red, others purple, a few were black, and some were tan, and they all hung on individual strings. I had never seen such a thing before and was perplexed as to what it could be. I thought about stopping, but because I was a cautious fool at the time, I kept walking. Fortunately though, only a few minutes later there was another stand. This time I couldn't resist. I stopped and purchased a dark purple one for 2 Lari ($0.80).
Hmmmm... It appeared interesting as I held it up. It was distinctly solin but bendable. It smelled a bit like grapes and it looked like it contained walnuts inside. I held it by the top of the string from which it was attached and took a bite. Instantly, my tastebuds were hit with the flavor flavor. It was a little sweet, although not overly sweet, and fairly savory. It wasn't too strong and overpowering, but somehow the combination of the solidified grape juice coating (as I later found it out to be) and the walnuts inside perfectly complimented each other and formed a delicious combination. which I thoroughly enjoyed. I enjoyed it so much so, that I went on to have one nearly every other day during my stay in Georgia, and savored every bite.
DESCRIPTION AND INFO
Churchkhela are composed by sticking nuts (usually walnuts) to a string and then dipping them into a mixture of fruit juice (usually grape) and flour to thicken. They are then hung up to dry and solidify. Once that is done, they are ready to be eaten. As for texture, they are supposed to be chewy, as dried fruit usually is, and they have a subtly sweet taste with a pleasant and lasting aftertaste.
If you're in Georgia, you can find them all over the place on nearly every street corner. Each color has a slightly different taste, so I recommend being adventurous and having a different one each time. And while I have found these in a few neighboring countries like Russia and Armenia, for some reason the Georgian ones taste the best. Also though, remember to buy the ones on the street since the store ones usually have been on the shelved for several days and as a result are noticeably more stale.
One thing that surprised me though was how long they leave you feeling full. They're not very big and don't seem like there is a ton of substance to them, but after eating one, I wouldn't feel hungry for many hours after. I even took one with me during a day's long hike in the mountains and that in and of itself was enough to keep me sustained throughout the whole physical ordeal.