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Tours of the Tongue in Turkey's Forever Delights

“It was in Cihangir that I first learned Istanbul was not an anonymous multitude of walled-in lives - a jungle of apartments where no one knew who was dead or who was celebrating what - but an archipelago of neighbourhoods in which everyone knew each other.” Orhan Pamuk, Istanbul: Memories and the City



The beautiful streets of Balat, Istanbul


I bought some scarves from a woman and she gifted me these bracelets that I earnestly treasure

If you leaned over the balcony of the AirBNB I stayed in, in Istanbul- you would almost always find a smiling neighbour next to you. Smiling, or in a pensive reflection; taking in the city’s crowds, apartments, smells and sounds while sipping the ever present cups of Turkish tea and coffee, cigarette in hand.



Turkish delight, coffee and cookies make for a delightful coffee ceremony experience


Or delicately balancing their tiny, ornamented cup and small saucer that holds two or three pieces of sugar-powder coated Turkish delight. Look out as well for the strings of dry chilli chandeliers dotting balconies and gardens all over the country!





You can buy the dried chilli and floral strings to decorate your home and garden in local Turkish markets

In Turkey, the idea that a human being is something to put food in holds true!

Great recipes start with fresh, fragrant ingredients and a fantastic pot. In The Silver Elves, The Elf Folks' Book of Cookery: Recipes for a Delighted Tongue, a Healthy Body and a Magical Life, the author writes, “It is important to view a recipe book as one that you use daily and what we in our family call "a living book" — a book that you use all the time, not just read once and discard on the shelf. It is in a sense a spell book, a book of magical enchantments, to be consulted, used and altered as needed.”



She was so much fun to watch and shoot as she made her potato, herb and spinach crepes



With every bite of the food that I had in Turkey in Istanbul, Kusadasi (pronounced Kushadashi), Sirince (pronounced Shirinje) and in Pammukale; I was reminded of the magic of the enchantment of food, flavour and great vibes.



Roasted chestnuts are sold in Istanbul's streets, they tasted like roast sweet potatoes

Other than the famous baklava, Turkey's street food scene has tons of other sweet treats and pastries



Turkish food has a lot of European, Arab, Moorish (African) and South East Asian heritage in flavours, my favorite things was getting the herbs on the side to sprinkle on top for more flavour

It's not a Turkish food experience if you miss out on ice-cream from one of the biggest ice-cream capitals of the world

It's a whole experience, with Turkish ice-cream vendors performing tricks to entertain their customers as you can see in the video!



What did I love the most about Turkey?


1. Turkish people absolutely love their cats, you will spot people feeding them in the streets and next to the Balkans, carrying them in the buses in tenderness and softness

2. I was pleasantly surprised by how Turkish people prepared their coffee, stirring a copper cup with the brew over a large, sand-filled plate





Turkish Sand Coffee being prepared


3. Discovering Turkish wine and falling in love with their fruity dry reds and whites that had such fresh bouquet tastes. Think wine colour metres of claret, plum, caramel, amber, straw and honey. With a flavour wheel of dark fruit, citrus, toffee, wood and floral.



Find Turkish wine in all its large to small local restaurants and enjoy!

This was one of my absolute favorite bottles drunk in Pammukale


4. Exploring the small, colourful streets of Sirince and falling in love with over 14 flavours of fruit wine in Europe’s fruit wine capital



Selecting fruit wines to sample in Sirince, I still tried them all though haha!

At the Hayyam Mahzen Fruit Wine Tasting Room in Sirince


5. Eating spicy, rice stuffed mussels at the beachfront of Kusadasi

6. Jogging in Istanbul’s windy and hilly streets


How should you spend one week in Turkey?



Istanbul:

  • Sample and drink a lot of dry white and red Turkish wine, it is delicious!

  • Eat a lot of fresh sea-food


Other than the great wine and seafood, a Turkish food experience always comes with a lot of bread and fresh olives
  • Drink raki! A Turkish spirit that is clear but that turns milky when you add a couple of drinks of water into it!


Sipping raki for the first time and I loved its anise flavours!


  • Get lost in the colourful streets of Balat


Balat is the capital of colour!

Balat takes the phrase, "A splash of colour" very seriously!




  • Take a boat down the Balkans and view both sides of the Empire - the Asian and European side


Boat tour on the Balkans




  • Buy simit (a Turkish bread that gets fresh cottage cheese spread on it) and freshly squeezed juice at the stalls next to Hagia Sofia and the Blue Mosque, walk around the square taking in the tourists and locals having a great day at this historical site. The two historic grand dames get to look at each other every day, a testament to Turkey's diverse cultural heritage that has both Islamic and Christian roots.


Hagia Sofia

The Blue Mosque

Simit and freshly squeezed orange juice sold as street food at the historical square

Kusadasi:


  • Walk down the beach promenade, shop and eat fabulous seafood


Turkey's beautiful resort town, Kusadasi

Kusadasi's beachfront is dotted with colourful umbrellas

  • Try boiled sweet-corn, Turkish Ice Cream, spicy rice, stuffed mussels and lots of Simit

  • Party in its nightclubs and bars that are filled with jovial people and live bands of lively Turkish music performances


Mussels stuffed with spicy rice sold on Kusadasi's promenade

Sirince:

  • Eat lots of hearty Turkish village food


Stuffed zucchini flowers, barley cooked in lamb neck and olives (Sirince village food)

  • Walk through the streets and stop for freshly brewed coffee over trays of hot sand


Drinking Turkish sand coffee in one of Sirince's village stores


Sirince is a charming little village that makes visiting the heart of Europe's fruit wine capital a delight

  • Wine tasting at one of the vineyard shops and sample up to 14 different fruit wines


A fruit wine sampler at Hayyam Mahzen, Sirince Village

The black mulberry wine was my favorite!

A girl and her fruit wines!


Pammukale:


  • Spend a day exploring the villages around Pammukale

  • Hike up the calcium coated Pammukale Mountains (wear your swimsuit before entering the park if you want the swimsuit shots, they don’t have changing areas at the mountain). Look out for the long, lean lines of people in pilgrimage and awe in the designated zones that tourists are allowed on too!

  • Eat lots of Turkish village food


At Pammukale's calcium coated mountains


Pammukale, a bucket list location in Turkey

Lunch at one of the villages near Pammukale in a small stopover restaurant

Where I ate a lot and made many friends!

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