Georgians to Eat Their Ties

Giorgi Lomsadze

Eating a tie acquired a whole new significance in Georgia after President Mikheil Saakashvili was caught on camera nervously chewing on his tie during the 2008 war with Russia. And, now, if you ever hear a Georgian say “I’ll eat my tie,” he (or she) may actually mean it. Some 500 “Reformist, Edible Ties,” made from apple jam, were unveiled today at a presentation in Tbilisi.

“This could be a new Georgian brand,” declared Oleg Panfilov, a dissident Russian journalist who is one of the tie’s creators and lives in Tbilisi.

Neatly packaged in plastic bags for five lari ($3.00) each, the ties carry a distinct political flavor. The image of Saakashvili gnawing on his tie became fodder for Russia’s propaganda machine, which tries to portray the Georgian president as mentally unstable. The September 14 presentation was meant to parry those attacks.

The ties come in a sweet flavor for “good people,” according to event organizers, and in a sour flavor for, specifically, Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

Panfilov invited the Russian power pair to try the product so they could, in his words, also get a taste of the sweeping reforms enacted under Saakashvili. “Through this, we meant to deride the [Russian] propaganda,” Panfilov said.

It is unclear if commercial production of the candy ties is in the pipeline, but, at least for one day, Georgia can both have its tie and eat it, too.