We arrive at our Nana Gerasimova's house to find a table duly covered with khajapuri (cheese bread); lobio (spicy beans); baje (a delicious walnut sauce flavored with coriander, saffron and garlic); and numerous pkhali's (vegetable plates), just to mention my vegetarian favorites. Everything sparkles with the brilliant red of pomegranate seeds.
And we're in for another treat. Sitting at the end of the table are four members of the Ensemble Tbilisi male choir. Our tamada (toastmaker) raises his drinking horn and welcomes us with the traditional first toast when strangers sit at a table: "To our friendship!"
In turn we down our drinking horns to the bottom. You have to of course, as the devious Georgians know these ibex horns, or khantsi, won't stand on a table top.
Then suddenly comes a blast of sound from the far end of the feast. Four bold male voices ring out in a three-part harmony chorus. I feel as if my hair is streaming backwards. The torrent of sound fills the room with a far stronger effect than the wine. A full throated cry of blood and passion suddenly brings Georgia's huge, white, looming mountains right to the table edge.