Dambalkhacho

Dambalkhacho

Dambalkhacho is a special element in the life and culture of Pshavi The tradition of its making is still preserved today in Pshavi and villages inhabited by the Pshavs.

In written records, its history dates back two centuries and it is probable that it was widespread in Pshavi long before the 1800s.
Dambalkhacho (mouldy cottage cheese) is a traditional food from Pshavi. It is made from buttermilk cottage cheese that remains after churning butter. The salt is being kneaded into the lumps of cottage cheese which are afterward dried in a dzobani - a special webbed grate hung over a fire.
The dried lumps are then placed in a clay pot and stored in a dark and cool basement or in the ground. Stored in these conditions for 1.5-2 months, cottage cheese develops a special mould, which is usually cut off later. On the inside, the lumps swell and turn golden.

Along with other food, the warriors going to war from Pshavi would take dambalkhacho with them due to its nutritional value.
In 2014, the National Agency for the Protection of Cultural Heritage granted Dambalkhacho the status of intangible cultural heritage.

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