Feast your eyes on the latest blog from Ryan Dollard in Sochi

Vine leaves
Ryan took time off from reporting for ITV regions to enjoy a Georgian feast Photo: ITV News Border

Have you ever taken a long taxi ride and finished up financially better off as a result? Today I did. As Tima, my cab driver, dropped me at Sochi station I suddenly realised that I had left my wallet in my room. I apologetically told Tima that I’d have to pay him after the return journey if that would be alright.

A Problem? Not at all for my new friend, without being asked he got out his wallet and thrust three days worth of my taxi fares into my hand and told me to have a good day. What a gentleman. Everyone I have met out here has been friendly but Tima is a class apart.

No action here for Border athletes but both the men and women in the Curling have do or die matches tomorrow. I’m rooting for them. They deserve to make the semi-finals stages but their knockout stages could effectively begin tomorrow, must win game for the men against China, while the women face Russia and Canada. It will be tense.

Tamara
Ryan's Russian girlfriend Tamara took care of ordering food Credit: ITV News Border

I told you that I was going out to eat Georgian food yesterday. It was every bit as good as I remembered. Being as fluent a reader of Russian as an averagely bright three-year-old Russian child, I wisely left the ordering to Tamara. What a feast arrived at our table. I yield to no man in my appreciation of a hot meal. It’s why my place on the Rugby field is among the chubby chaps who ply their trade in the front row. The kind of men who cut the rinds off their slices of bacon, but only in order to make another sandwich with them.

Georgian food
A traditional Georgian dish Credit: ITV News Border
Lamb
Lamb kebab Credit: ITV News Border

First up were these delicious little vine leaves filled with a very herby and lightly spiced mince. I devoured them without a second thought. Then these little chaps appeared, each consisting of a nutty pate wrapped in a slice of fried aubergine and topped with a single pomegranate seed. Delicious.

Now the only dish I can name that appeared before me is Khachapuri. I know this because when I am alone in a Georgian restaurant and have to order for myself I always order it. It is very moreish, you see. Fresh bread, hot from the oven filled with melted Georgian cheese, an egg and lashings of butter. The idea is that you eat it from the outside in, ripping off chunks of bread and dipping it in the warm cheese. It saddens me that once I return to the UK it may be some time before I can find it again.

So, the starters were great.

For the main-event I limited myself to two kinds of kebab because I am a man who believes that moderation in all things is the secret to a happy life.

The first was made of a lamb mince similar to the one I found in the vine leaves, not a disappointment in any way, the second made from marinated pork ribs.

If anyone in Carlisle is toying with the idea of opening a Georgian restaurant, you have my full backing.

khachapuri
khachapuri Credit: ITV News Border

Finally for today our old pal Border Bear. He is in his element. His own parents, (and all Teddy Bears have parents, didn’t you know?) Couldn’t have possibly looked after him any better than Nadia and Gerry are. He has joined their team assisting the media and is still in the press room as I write. The have made him a little bed to sleep in and have even made him a pair of trousers so he doesn’t get cold in the Mountains, like I said this place is full of friendly people.

Border Bear
Border Bear has new friends and is now helping out in the media centre Credit: ITV News Border
Border Bear trousers
Border Bear even has new trousers to help keep out the chilly Sochi air Credit: ITV News Border