Republic of Georgia with Kachka

September 18 - 25, 2023 | One Exclusive Departure with Bonnie & Israel

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Heritage & Connection

Dive deep into the culture and cuisine of Georgia with Kachka's Bonnie & Israel Morales

September 18 - 25, 2023

Limited availability—one departure only

8 Days, 7 Nights

From Tbilisi to Kakheti and Kazbegi

Price from

$6,800

Per person based on double occupancy

Questions? Text or call us
+1 (855) 219-8018

Hot springs, medieval watchtowers, pristine vistas and the best dumplings you’ve ever tasted. You’re halfway through a rustic feast with a local family, and you’re marveling at the subtle notes of saffron, pomegranate and garlic, all the hallmarks of a fine dining experience tucked away deep in the Georgian mountains. Today, like every excursion on this lively journey, is scrapbook material—the hike to the 14th century monastery which seems to float above the snow-capped peaks of the Caucasuses, your glass of local wine fermented just steps away in ancient clay pots. Tomorrow, you’ll return to the modern galleries and hip coffeehouses in the cobblestoned streets of the capital. This is true Georgia—both urban and rural, both royal and rustic—a captivating feast for the senses and a wanderer’s dream come true.

With us on this exquisite journey are Bonnie and Israel Morales, the dynamic duo behind Kachka, the award-winning Portland restaurant where the foods of the former Soviet Union are elevated to an art form. This is our second trip with Bonnie and Israel to Georgia (see our Field Notes and photos from their last Republic of Georgia adventure with us). Georgian cuisine, with its dizzying array of flavors and spices, is beloved from the Baltics to Kamchatka, and everywhere in between; it’s a warm, fragrant source of comfort on cold winter nights. To know it is to love it — and to love it, as Bonnie and Israel know firsthand, is to find yourself always wanting more. Join them for the ultimate master class in Georgian food, wine, and tamada, the art of hospitality.

You might not know much of Georgia, or why it’s perennially the world’s next big thing. That changes when you sit in cozy taverns where locals break out in polyphonic song, over tables piled high with platters of basil and dill, sharp sheep’s milk cheese, robust stews and delicately sauced beans. By the end of this journey, you’ll be energized, inspired and hungry for more of Georgia’s traditions, hospitality and beauty.

Experience

Tbilisi's vibrant streets, medieval monasteries and rolling vineyards, the snow-capped Caucasus mountains

Savor

Georgia's aromatic flavors, the secrets behind baking our own traditional khachapuri cheese bread

Celebrate

The bounty of the harvest, the joyous rituals of the tamada toastmaster, with some of the world's oldest wines

Connect

With the traditions of an ancient culture, with Bonnie and Israel and the timeless grace of Georgian hospitality

3 Reasons to Travel with Bonnie & Israel

We love Bonnie and Israel because the last thing they ever wanted to do was to open a restaurant (much less one based on Soviet home cooking). But they created Portland's Kachka because they had to. "We felt if we don’t, nobody will,” says Bonnie, who grew up eating her Belarusian parents' cooking. The result has introduced Soviet food's charm and flavor to a generation of foodies (along with doting writers from The New York Times, Bon Appetit and Food & Wine.)

So Fun the First Time

This is our second Modern Adventure to Georgia with Bonnie and Israel, and we've been scheming to return with them ever since (read Field Notes from our first trip). Their connections and deep roots to the region made every meal, every moment, into a masterpiece.

The Learning Curve

Bonnie and Israel are driven to introduce Soviet cooking to people ("it's so varied and beautiful, so many bright flavors," as Bonnie says). Her recent Russian cookbook was the first in the US in nearly three decades, and the couple took their staff to Russia to learn on the ground. Travel with them means learning a lot.

The Royal Treatment

Bonnie calls “intense hospitality” a Georgian thing. You feel it at their decked-out restaurant and bar, and with how they approach food, friends and travel companions.

Your Experience

Tamada evokes a specific kind of Georgian hospitality — toasts like epic poetry recited over a banquet table groaning with food.”
Bonnie Morales

Tbilisi, Kakheti, Kazbegi

“If you had to sum up Georgia in one word, it’s 'hospitable.' Everywhere you look there are people trying to give you food.”
Israel Morales

Day by Day

Day 1

Gamarjoba! Welcome to Georgia’s lively, artful and ancient capital of Tbilisi. Today we jump right in, exploring the city from cobblestone alley to mountaintop, scaling fortresses and visiting grand Soviet monuments before losing ourselves amongst slick modern galleries and coffee shops found in the twisting backstreets of the Old Town.

Lunch will be a cooking class lunch at Orbeliani Bazaar—a modern marketplace teeming with spices, cheese, honey and wine—under the auspices of a local master chef. 

In the evening we’ll experience the Supra, a Georgian dinner custom that features countless traditional dishes and a handful of toasts. We will celebrate with our own tamada (local toastmaster) and a polyphonic vocal ensemble that will perform between courses. Not too bad for day one!

Day 1 Highlights

  • Old Tbilisi walking tour
  • Hands-on cooking class
  • Welcome dinner
  • Stay at Rooms Tbilisi

Day 2

After a big breakfast, we get a taste of the Caucasus on a century-spanning day trip that takes in UNESCO-protected mountaintop monasteries and the roots of one of the oldest wines in the world. Our road ahead weaves through the mountains to the cave town of Uplistsikhe, hewn from the rock and continuously occupied for more than 2,000 years. Next, we get serious with wine at one of Georgia’s most heralded vineyards, for a tour and tasting over lunch. And what better way to end a meal in Georgia then with a live Khridoli martial-arts performance that mixes wrestling, boxing, fencing and archery.

In the afternoon, we’re off to visit the ancient village of Mtskheta, where a sacred 4th-century Jvari Monastery looks down from vertical cliffs above–we’ll go up to learn about its history and take in sprawling mountain views. We return to Tbilisi in time for a hands-on cooking class and dinner with Bonnie and Israel at Culinarium Khasheria, a test kitchen and restaurant owned by top Georgian chef, Tekuna Gachechildze.

Day 2 Highlights

  • Visit Uplistsikhe & Jvari Monastery
  • Wine tasting lunch
  • Cooking class & dinner
  • Stay at Rooms Tbilisi

Day 3

Today we explore verdant Kakheti on a daytrip to the heart of Georgia’s wine country that’s home to over 500 varieties of grapes. The route is a breathless thrill, as we pass sweeping views of rolling hills and vineyards and hilltop villages backed by snow-capped Caucasus peaks. We start with a visit at a local vineyard to see how unfiltered wine is still fermented using traditional methods: filling qvevri clay pots with foot-stomped grapes, and burying them in the earth. 

Next, we’ll take a walk around the fortress grounds of Signagi, immersing ourselves in this 18th-century walled hamlet, locally known as the city of love. And just when our stomachs start to rumble, we’ll find ourselves  at Lost Ridge, a dynamic eco-community within the tiny village called Qedeli. Formerly a dusty forgotten neighborhood, Lost Ridge is a thriving collective, which hosts an inn, ranch, brewery, greenhouses and orchards too. Here, we’ll roll up our sleeves for a Georgian bread-making class in their fire kitchen, followed by a craft beer—they specialize in farmhouse ales and saisons—tutorial and tasting.

We’ll check into our hotel, a new boutique built on the grounds of the palatial home of a former Georgian prince, in the late afternoon, and we’ll have the rest of the day to ourselves. Sit by the pool or follow us to the incredible Library Bar for a seasonal scratch cocktail or two.

Day 3 Highlights

  • Visit traditional winery
  • Ramble by foot in historic village
  • Bread-making class and brewery visit
  • Stay at Tsinandali Estate

Day 4

Today we travel back to the 1st century to ancient Telavi, a historical waypost for merchants and peddlers between the Middle East and Europe. After a deep dive into the town’s storied past, we’ll head to the outskirts and go even further back in time. In the picturesque village of Vardisubani, we’ll witness firsthand the ancient qvevri, 200- to 900-gallon earthenware vessels used in fermenting and storing organic Georgian wines for more than 8,000 years.

A sip of organic wine from the qvevri is a perfect appetizer for a truly special lunch. We’ve been invited into the home of renowned chef Sopo Gorgadze—you can expect a banquet of traditional Georgian fare, driven by cow and goat cheese that her husband makes on site. Make sure to try the Bona, a remarkably savory goat cheese named after the couple’s first goat.

With our hearts and stomachs full, we’ll practically drift to the next village as we visit Giorgi Gvardzelashvili’s vineyards and wine cellar for a tasting and lesson on fiery varietals native to Georgia. While you learn the nuances of Ghghia, Rkatsiteli and Saperavi, we’ll be swept away by Giorgi’s passion for both tradition and innovation.

And now for the cherry on top. Tonight, we’ll dine as Silver Lakes Farm in Kurdghelauri, a new farm-to-table restaurant helmed by none other than the ‘godmother of Georgia’s culinary revolution,’ Tekuna Gachechiladze. If you’re a foodie like us, it doesn’t get any better this.

Day 4 Highlights

  • Home lunch with chef
  • Wine tasting and tour
  • Dinner at Silver Lake Farms
  • Stay at The Tsinandali Estate

Day 5

Up, up and away! Today we shift our home base to Kazbegi, one of the highest inhabited points in the majestic Caucasus mountain range, threading our way ever upward along sheer cliffs to catch a glimpse of mountain life—we’ll traipse along the buttresses of a 13th-century castle before heading down for an incredible, hearty lunch.

In the kitchen of a local family, we”ll learn several ways to prepare khinkali dumplings and dine in true highland tradition.  For dessert, we’ll sip some fiery chacha, a Georgian ‘moonshine’ made from grapes. 

In the afternoon, we’ll check into our mountain hotel and reconvene for a simple yet exquisite dinner, followed by a good night’s sleep. 

Day 5 Highlights

  • Visit Ananuri Castle
  • Transfer to Kazbegi
  • Lunch with local family
  • Stay at Rooms Kazbegi

Day 6

Fill up on a big breakfast. Today we’re hitting the mountains, by foot (car transport is also an option). First, we take a half-day hike up up up to the Gergeti Trinity Church, the national symbol of Georgia. You won’t forget the view. After an hour-and-a-half trek up, we reach a 14th-century cross-cupola church soaring 7,000 feet above sea level like a lost eagle in flight. 

We celebrate our hike in style over an elaborate lunch with a family in the tiny Caucasus village of Tsdo, then follow the trails back down to our hotel for a relaxing evening. Try your luck at roulette, have a rejuvenating soak in the pool, or enjoy the spa–or maybe all of the above.

Day 6 Highlights

  • Hike to Gergeti Trinity Church
  • Lunch with local Family
  • Stay at Rooms Kazbegi

Day 7

We head back to Tbilisi today on a roadtrip you won’t forget. We explore Kazbegi National Park’s gorges and lush mountains, then take a specially arranged 4WD drive to the elusive Gveleti waterfall, named for its snakelike slivering spray backed by cliffs. Just outside of town, we’ll enjoy lunch at a local cafe and learn some Georgian village cooking tips from the chef.

In the afternoon our trip comes full circle as we return to Tbilisi with time for some last-minute souvenir shopping, finished with a music- and dance-filled farewell feast of Georgian food–and lots of wine. Be ready to take your turn as tamada as we celebrate the traditions and flavors, and our unforgettable time together, in the Republic of Georgia.

Day 7 Highlights

  • 4WD drive to Gveleti waterfall
  • Tbilisi free time
  • Farewell dinner in Tbilisi
  • Stay at Rooms Tbilisi

Day 8

Alas, our time in Georgia together has come to end. It’s been an incredible week with Bonnie and Israel, exploring this incredible country and its culture, cuisine and wine.

After breakfast we’ll pack up, say our farewells and our mutual appreciation of the Caucasus—and of our new friends—and transfer to Tbilisi International Airport (TBS). We recommend your flight from TBS departs no earlier than 12:30pm. See you next time!

Day 8 Highlights

  • Breakfast at hotel
  • Transfers to TBS airport

Where We Sleep

Soviet vintage and contemporary design, industrial flair blend together seamlessly: Nothing captures the playful, innovative spirit of today’s Georgia better than our boutique accommodations.

Rooms Tbilisi

Tbilisi

More than a just a hotel, this erstwhile Soviet publishing house is the kind of atrium-like crossroads where everyone turns up sooner or later, from black-clad artists just back from Berlin to local politicians and homegrown hipsters. On weekends you’ll find them all here, drinking cocktails in the library and enjoying breakfast at the lavish buffet, piled high with enough jewel-like fruits, jams and pastries to inspire a Dutch Master.

Tsinandali Estate

Tsinandali

Located on the grounds of the former palace home of Prince Chavchavadze, the Georgian Romanticist and winemaker, this breathtaking estate sits in the very heart of the Kakheti wine region. It's nestled among the vines in the heart of Tsinandali's historic center, meticulously designed with earthy shades and pine accents to blend seamlessly with the pastoral surroundings and its stunning view of the Caucasus mountains.

Rooms Kazbegi

Kazbegi

Once a spa for the Soviet party elite, this lovingly restored, charmingly geometric hotel is perched high in the Caucasus mountains. Of course, there are floor-to-ceiling windows throughout, ensuring that wherever you are—nestled in bed, curled up in a hand-crafted wicker chair on the sweeping terrace, swimming in the reflecting pool—the snow-capped peaks are so close it seems you can just about touch them.

The planning and day-to-day operations of this trip were excellent! I felt very well cared for.
Jeffry D.
The food was excellent. I’m going to have to work hard to get back to my weight pre-Georgia!
Gabriela S.
The trip was curated in a way that provided unique experiences we wouldn't have had if we traveled solo.
Katherine R.

Book Republic of Georgia with Kachka

Number of Travelers

Payment

Reserve your spot today with a $1,000 per-person deposit plus room supplements (if relevant). Full payment is due 180 days prior to your trip departure date. We’ll email you a reminder. If your trip departs in less than 180 days, we’ll collect full payment either 30 days from when we receive your deposit, or 60 days prior to your trip departure date, whichever is sooner. For details read our Deposit FAQs

$6,800

Per person based on double occupancy

Can't travel on these dates?
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+1 (855) 219-8018

Questions?

That’s OK, we have answers. Read our FAQs below. Or text or call us at +1 (855) 219-8018 to speak with a Modern Adventure Trip Specialist.

  1. What does the price include?

    Seven nights at unique four- and five-star accommodations; private travel for all day trips and excursions; departure airport transfer; private tours with local guides and cultural experts; exclusive VIP access and tastings; guided activities, adventures and expeditions; entrance fees; daily breakfasts, most lunches and dinners; local beverages with meals.

  2. What does the price not include?

    International roundtrip airfare; travel insurance; transportation to the trip’s starting point; activities not included in the trip itinerary; hotel incidentals including room service, laundry service and hotel bar tabs; food and beverages not included in itinerary; gratuity for tour leader.

  3. Where does the trip start and end?

    Our adventure begins at the Rooms Hotel in Tbilisi, Georgia. The closest airport is the Tbilisi International Airport (TBS). Our adventure ends seven days later in Tbilisi, Georgia. Your flight home should be scheduled to depart TBS at 12:30pm or later.

  4. What travel documents are needed?

    US citizens are not required to have a visa for stays in Georgia of under 90 days. Just bring a valid US passport. For citizens of other countries, please check with the nearest Georgian embassy or consulate for requirements.  

  5. Do I need to pay a solo traveler supplement?

    For solo travelers, there is a $1,500 single-supplement fee—paid at the time of booking to secure a private room. These single rooms are extremely limited and available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

  6. Who is going on this trip?

    Our adventures typically have between 10 and 18 guests, and our Modern Adventure Team. Our experiences are fun and inclusive and you can expect to be joined by a diverse group in terms of age, background and interests—including solo travelers, couples and friends traveling together. This adventure is for travelers age 18 and above.

  7. Who is leading this trip?

    This trip is led by an expert Modern Adventure trip leader. They’re an experienced travel guide, a representative of Modern Adventure and your go-to person for questions or concerns on the trip. We’ll be joined throughout our adventure by local, expert guides who are deeply knowledgeable with respect to local cultures, customs and history and are passionate about sharing that with us.

  8. What is the cancellation policy?

    ou may cancel on or before May 21, 2023 and receive a full refund minus a $500 per-person service fee. If you cancel on or after May 22, 2023, there is a 50% cancellation fee; on or after July 20, 2023 there is a 100% cancellation fee.  We highly recommend purchasing travel insurance as we are not able to make exceptions to this policy in cases of family/medical emergency or cases of the trip being canceled (see our Terms and Conditions for full details).

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