Thursday
September 12, 2013

Culinary Delights to Try in Turkey

Turkey has been forged from centuries of the clashing, merging and meshing of myriad cultures and civilisations, including Roman, Ottoman and Byzantium to name but a few. The result was that this huge land with its dusty, vibrant cities, glassy lakes, pine-covered mountains and fascinating geological formations became a melting pot in every sense – even geographically, bridging, as it does, the gap between the middle east and Europe. All this is equally reflected in the country’s much-loved cuisine, which comprises elements of: Ottoman, Balkan, Asian, Middle Eastern and, of course, Mediterranean. Taking holidays to Turkey means you’ll have a chance to sample the myriads of culinary delights that the place has to offer, and they vary from region to region. Read on to find out what you might be eating at different Turkish resorts to whet your appetite further.

Palmiye

Located in the Taurus Mountains with their rugged peaks, the Palmiye resort offers diners three restaurants and a weekly gourmet cooking demonstration. What’s more, the dining facilities here have all have the title of Table Coup de Coeur bestowed on them for top-quality food and service.

The Topkapi restaurant specialises in Turkish cuisine in the form of Fish Tagine, a beautifully fragrant and flavoursome dish cooked in a pot with garlic, paprika, tomatoes, lemon and olives. Mangal is also served here, which is essentially Turkish barbecue. Named for the outdoor stove used by Turkish peasants that was popular prior to the 20th century, mangal is as much about food as hospitality and sharing. While the mainstay of this concept is meat (mainly chicken and lamb), salads, shish, köfte and grilled vegetables are served alongside. It’s traditional to drink Saglam with mangal – which is salted, spiced turnip juice!

Belek Villas

Set on the glorious Turkish Riviera, here, you can enjoy your cuisine either in your own villa, which will be personally catered, or in one of the three restaurants.

Specialities at Belek Villas include meze, a smorgasbord that comprises of white cheeses, calamari, hummus, hard-boiled eggs, garlic, stuffed vine leaves, aubergine salad, melon, pork sausages cooked in orange peel, goat’s cheese and much, much more. Other meat and fresh fish dishes are on offer, such as lamb cooked on the bone and sea bass cooked in chard. Snacks include Gözleme, a pastry stuffed with spinach, cheese or potato and authentic kebabs. Everything is seasoned with fresh local ingredients.

Bodrum Palmiye

Set on a peaceful peninsula, jutting out into the warm Aegean Sea, the restaurants at Bodrum Palmiye also have Table Coup de Coeur honours. Gourmet cooking demonstrations are held three times a week and you can taste the creations in the form of and Cappdoce Lamb (which was traditionally cooked in a sealed clay pot which was then smashed open to be consumed).

Uniquely, there are also weekly excursions available to the local food markets, where you can taste a variety of local delicacies and products like simit (Turkish seeded pretzel) and lamb sweetbreads.

So when you’re in Turkey, the trick is to eat like the locals. Follow that advice and you’ll be dining like kings and queens every night.

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