Andrei Yarmak, economist and expert at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), says that traditional Georgian dessert churchkhela has a great potential to become a successful export item, as it can be sold as a healthy dessert alternative.
“In Europe, the US and many countries demand for healthy food increases very fast and supermarkets are constantly looking for new products. Churchkhela is completely in line with the concept of healthy foods. It is made from natural raw materials without any sugar or additives. It is an energy product in its natural form,” Andrei Yarmak said adding that registering churchkhela on the international market and its proper promotion would make the product one of the most in-demand products in the world.
Churchkhela is a traditional Georgian sweet made from grape must, nuts and flour.
Georgians usually make churchkhela in autumn when the primary ingredients, grapes and nuts, are harvested. It is a string of walnut halves that have been dipped in grape juice called Tatara or Pelamushi and dried in the sun.
Andrei Yarmak says that churchkhela could be particularly interesting for up-scale supermarkets.
He thinks that increasing the production of churchkhela and exporting it internationally will have a positive impact on the walnut and hazelnut business in the country.
In 2011 the National Intellectual Property Center of Georgia (Sakpatenti) registered churchkhela under the protected geographical name. (Agenda/Business World Magazine)