We sat down to a lunch of corn porridge. My plateful was pale yellow and shaped like a hubcap. I hacked off a lump. I chewed; then I chewed some more.
The old lady’s eyes narrowed with amusement. No, she said, you do it like this, reaching for a small dish of deep red sauce on the table between us. She mixed a little of the sauce into the porridge, dabbed on a lump of cheese, and pushed the plate back to me.
It was like the sun had risen in my mouth. Instead of the cold lumpiness of wood pulp, there was a spreading glow of summer: garlic, chilli, salt, and a dozen other spices I could not identify. I looked up in amazement and picked up the little dish of red sauce to smell it. The old woman smiled again.
“That’s adjika,” she said.
Acclaimed author Oliver Bullough talks to everyone from presidents to street vendors about Adjika, glorious sauce of Abkhazia.