Posted by: David Stewart | June 10, 2013

Turkish Food and Wine

From our recent trip to Turkey, we got a good chance to sample a lot of things from many parts of the country. However, there were a few things that we typically liked and stuck with most of the time. A common option was the kebab or kebap. My usual impression of a kebab from Mediterranean restaurants is a skewer with grilled meat. However there were many other ways in which cubed meat was served, such as the Donnar Kebab sliced off of a rotating meat stack and cooked in a clay pot which was broken open once the meat was cooked.

Spice Bazaar, Istanbul

Donnar Kebab (known as Shwarma in Israel) was quite common

Once we find food that we like, it is quite normal for us to stick with a few items we’re familiar with. My vegetarian brother-in-law would usually order “Choban Salad”, also called “Shepherd’s Salad”, a mixed salad of tomato, cucumber, onion, green peppers, and parsley. We would also usually order a mixed Mezze, which was a sampling of cold dishes such as hummus, cucumber in yogurt, dolma (grape leaves wrapping up rice), eggplant salad and the like.

Istanbul - Dinner first night

Wine is grown in Turkey, particularly in the Cappadocia region where we visited. In visiting wine shops and eating in restaurants, we encountered a number of grape varieties that we were totally unfamiliar with: Narince, emir, kalecik karasi, bogazkere, uchisar, avanos, begaz. The most common varietals were Öküzgözü and
Boğazkere, although we found that these were better blended together rather than straight.

As for treats, there were a couple of options. The markets had Turkish Delight of many varieties and forms. But my favorite indulgence was Turkish Coffee. This style of coffee making has a really thick and strong cup of espresso, sweetened and swimming with coffee grounds. Often it was served with a cookie or a sliver of chocolate. Most of the coffee we got in hotels and pensions was instant.

Turkish Coffee

The markets we encountered in many cities were usually chock full of veggies, spices, peppers and all manner of raw materials. At some points, we were regretting a little not staying in an apartment where we could cook something up, since the options were many and very fresh.

Selcuk, Turkey
Selcuk, Turkey

Goreme Outdoor Museum

Istanbul, Turkey

Spice Bazaar, Istanbul


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