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Kakhetian churchela
Alternative namesChurchela
Place of originGeorgia
Main ingredientsGrape must, nuts, flour

Churchkhela (Georgian: ჩურჩხელა, Georgian pronunciation: [tʃʰuɾtʃʰχela]) is a traditional Georgian[1][2][3] candle-shaped candy.

The main ingredients of churchkhela are grape must, nuts, and flour. Almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, and chocolate and sometimes raisins are threaded onto a string, dipped in thickened grape must, mulberry juice, or fruit juices and dried in the shape of a sausage.[4][5][6][7] In eastern Georgia, churchkhela production begins with a condensed juice called tatara, made from must from local grapes in the areas of Kakheti, Kartli, or Meskheti thickened with wheat flour. Wheat flour is also used for making condensed mulberry juice in the area of Samtskhe-Javakheti. Corn flour is used in western Georgia (the areas of Racha, Lechkhumi, Guria, Samegrelo, Abkhazia, and Achara), and this condensed grape juice is called pelamushi.[8] In Abkhazia, a region in the North Caucus Mountains of Georgia, it is known as Аджинджук (adzhindzhukhua or ajinjuk) in the local Abkhaz language and is touted as the best souvenir for gifting.[9]

Georgian warriors carried churchkhela with them because they contain many calories.[10]

The traditional technology of churchkhela in the Kakheti region was inscribed on the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Georgia list in 2015.[11][12]

Outside Georgia[edit]

Churchkhela and its varieties are popular in several countries besides Georgia, such as Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Iraq,[10] Syria, Iran, Cyprus,[13] Greece, Russia,[14] and Ukraine.[15][4] In Persian, it is known as باسلوق شیره انگور. In Aleppo, Syria, it is known as jok malbal جق ملبل. In Azerbaijani, Armenian, Greek, and Turkish it is known as sujuk, which is actually a dry sausage. To distinguish the two, it is sometimes referred to as "sweet sujukh" (քաղցր սուջուխ, kaghtsr sujukh) in Armenian[16] (շարոց, sharots in Western Armenian), and cevizli sucuk ('walnut sujuk') in Turkish.[17] It is known in Cypriot Greek as shoushoukos (σιουσιούκκος)[18][19][20] and as soutzouki (σουτζούκι),[21] τζουτζούκι (tzoutzoúki or jutsuki)[22] and tσούτσελα (tsoútsela) in Greece. Several related sweets are made in Greece during the autumn grape harvest by thickening grape must, to include the grape molasses πετιμέζι pekmez (petimezi), the grape must pudding called μουσταλευριά (moustalevria) and grape must cookies called μουστοκούλουρα (moustokouloura). Another variant of churchkhela, traditionally called kelawo, is prepared in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan.[23] It was locally marketed as Hunza chocolate, but as kelawo does not contain any cocoa, it is now renamed Hunza candy.[24][better source needed] Churchkhela (Чурчхела in Russian or ჩურჩხელა in Georgian) is now gaining popularity in other parts of the world, notably Canada and the USA. Georgian food has been seeing an upward trend over the last few years due to large numbers of Russians immigrating to Canada and the United States[25] with several companies starting up and taking off, like Chella, who make churchkhela in Vancouver, British Columbia, and La Fabrique St-George, who make Georgian wine in traditional qvevris.

The Cypriot variety is made by dipping strings of almonds into jelly, called shoushoukos (σιουσιούκκος).[26]


Churchkhela is a homemade Georgian product.[citation needed] 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 phelamushi (grape juice thickened with flour), and dried in the sun.[27] No sugar is added to make real churchkhela. Instead of walnuts, sometimes hazelnuts or almonds are used in the regions of west Georgia.

The juice is placed in a large bronze cauldron and heated slowly. A small amount of a special white earth called asproi is added to the boiling must and causes impurities to rise to the surface, where they are collected and removed. It is possible to substitute asproi, when not available, with lager beer, which has a similar result. Once the cleansing process is complete, the liquid is left to cool. Next, flour is added while stirring and heating the mixture. When it reaches the right consistency, based on the rate of steam bubbles and the viscosity of the mixture, it is removed from the heat. The mix, called badagi, is now ready for use in the next step in the process of making churchkhela, which consists of preparing the nuts for dipping.

Before they are threaded, the nuts have to be shelled and dipped into water in order to soften them. Once soft enough, they are strung onto 2–3-meter (6.6–9.8 ft)-long threads. The strings are dipped in the badagi mixture until completely covered. This process is repeated several times (usually three times) until the churchkhela has the desired thickness. Churchkhela strings are then left to dry for five to six days. They are then ready for consumption or storage, though some like to eat it fresh.


Churchkhela is a between-meal snack and is also served as a dessert during New Year and Christmas celebrations.

Traditionally, in times of war women would send their men churchkhela to eat at the front, because of its pragmatic size, ability not to mold for long periods of time, and heavy texture that keeps one full.[clarification needed]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Goldstein, Darra (1999). The Georgian Feast: The Vibrant Culture and Savory Food of the Republic of Georgia. University of California Press. p. 210.
  2. ^ Чурчхела. langet.ru (in Russian). Culinary Dictionary of V.V. Pokhlebkin. 2002. Грузинское национальное лакомство.
  3. ^ Roufs, Timothy G.; Roufs, Kathleen Smyth (2014). Sweet Treats around the World: An Encyclopedia of Food and Culture. ABC-CLIO. p. 140.
  4. ^ a b Zeldes, Leah A. (2011-03-02). "Eat this! Rojik, something sweet from Armenia". Dining Chicago. Chicago's Restaurant & Entertainment Guide, Inc. Archived from the original on 2019-05-04. Retrieved 2011-06-30.
  5. ^ "Кавказская кухня". meals.ru (in Russian). Archived from the original on 13 September 2016.
  6. ^ "На Кавказ за чурчхелой". Archived from the original on September 19, 2018.
  7. ^ Churchkhela[permanent dead link]
  8. ^ "Churchkhela: Ark of taste". Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity. Retrieved 1 August 2022.
  9. ^ Гарбузова, Александра (2021). Абхазия. Путеводитель. Бомьора. p. 116. ISBN 9785040198443.
  10. ^ a b Goldstein, Darra (2013). The Georgian Feast. University of California Press. p. 192. ISBN 978-0520275911.
  11. ^ "არამატერიალური კულტურული მემკვიდრეობა" [Intangible Cultural Heritage] (PDF) (in Georgian). National Agency for Cultural Heritage Preservation of Georgia. Retrieved 25 October 2017.
  12. ^ "UNESCO Culture for development indicators for Georgia (Analytical and Technical Report)" (PDF). EU-Eastern Partnership Culture & Creativity Programme. October 2017. pp. 82–88. Retrieved 25 October 2017.
  13. ^ "Soutzoukos". hellenicaworld.com. Hellenica World. Soutzoukos (Greek: σουτζούκος) is a popular traditional sweet of Cyprus.
  14. ^ "Как сделать чурчхелу в домашних условиях [How to make churchkhela at home]" (in Russian). mail.ru. 10 October 2013. Archived from the original on 2 April 2019. Retrieved 23 November 2015.
  15. ^ "Рецепт - Чурчхела". ProCook.ru (in Russian). Retrieved 26 May 2023.
  16. ^ "Վրաստան այցելելու պատճառները՝ Buzzfeed-ի ֆոտաշարքում" (in Armenian). Tert.am. 5 November 2014. Archived from the original on 5 November 2021. Retrieved 26 December 2014. չուրչխելա (քաղցր սուջուխ)
  17. ^ "Going nuts in Pangaltı, Şişli". Hürriyet Daily News. 29 January 2010. ...the cevizli sucuk, a traditional, sausage-shaped candy made of walnuts sewn onto a string and dipped into thickened mulberry juice.
  18. ^ "Shoushoukos". cyprusalive.com. Cyprus Alive. Palouzes and shushukos are exclusively known as traditional Cypriot delicacies.
  19. ^ Cyprus. Hunter Publishing. 1999. p. 231. Soutzoukos is a solidified grape juice sweet made with almonds and formed into sausage-like rolls.
  20. ^ Σουτζιούκκος. foodmuseum.cs.ucy.ac.cy (in Greek). Cyprus Food Virtual Museum. Retrieved 30 November 2015.
  21. ^ "Authentic Foods Soujoukos & Palouzes". cyprusfoodndrinks.com. Cyprus Food and Drinks. Soujoukos (grape must roll): A similar name, soutzouki, is also used in Greece to denote the same product.
  22. ^ "Εποχή για μάζεμα καρυδιών στην Αρκαδία... ώρα για μουσταλευριά και τζουτζούκι! (Season for picking walnuts in Arcadia... time for mustalevria and jutsuki!)". www.kalimera-arkadia.gr. Kalimera Arcadia. τζουτζούκι! Παραδοσιακό γλύκισμα από μουσταλευριά και καρύδι γιατί εκτός από εποχή του καρυδιού είναι και η εποχή του κρασιού! (jutsuki! Traditional mustel and walnut confection because in addition to walnut season, it is also wine season!)
  23. ^ "Walnut Kelawo (Walnuts dipped in Honey & Mulberry Juice)". GS Hunza Dry Fruits. Retrieved 2020-05-05.
  24. ^ "Hunza Candy". GS Hunza Dry Fruits.
  25. ^ Flores, Rosa (2023-02-20). "'I realized that my country was doing something wrong': Nearly 22,000 Russians have tried to enter the US since Putin's war draft". CNN. Retrieved 2023-10-20.
  26. ^ shoushoukos is the long one with almond nuts in it, and palouzes is the one made without nuts usually poured in a bowl/container
  27. ^ Progress Tour. "Churchkhela". Archived from the original on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2012-11-19.

External links[edit]