Turkish Food 2: Cappadocia

As we get to the end of our stay in Cappadocia, I have discovered some more Turkish cuisine specialities…

1) Pide

Also known as “Turkish Pizza”, this fast food is sold in cafes and restaurants all round Turkey. Its shape is different to Italian pizza – instead of being round it is long and thin, and shaped like a boat. I’m actually not a big fan, as I find them rather greasy, and the toppings are uninspiring – melted cheese and minced meat are the norm. They’re a bit like a bad Dominoes pizza (the dough texture is similar), but they are good for a quick snack when you’re peckish. However, I’d pick an Italian style pizza over them any day!

2) Testi Kebab

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These are the real speciality of the region. Testi Kebab translates simply as “pottery kebab” in English – it’s certainly not a sort of genital stew. Essentially they are stews (made of meat, vegetables, onion and spices etc) cooked in clay pots in a fire for a few hours. This means that the ingredients are cooked in their own steam so retain their flavour and aroma better – and they really make for a mouth-watering meal. They are served in a theatrical manner: the waiter brings them to your table and then cracks them open with a hammer in front of you. Usually they split easily along the line of the pot, but in the photo above my sister was given the hammer and she managed to crack the whole pot in. Not quite so tasty when shards of clay are mixed in with the stew!

3) Ayran

I’m a big fan of this Turkish drink, a sort of salty beverage made of milky-yoghurt. In my opinion, it goes superbly with meat dishes such as lamb kofte, just as you might have a yoghurt-mint sauce. However most of the rest of my family think it tastes pretty gross so the jury is still out on this one.

4) Breakfast

Turkish Breakfast

Turkish Breakfast

I’m always intrigued by what people eat for breakfast in other countries. I don’t really like English breakfasts much – a fry-up always leaves me feeling a bit queasy in the morning, and when you’re cold and tired there’s not much worse than soggy Weetabix. Turkish breakfast is usually served on a plate like the above with lots of different options, a small sample of each one. This is perfect for people with different tastes – you’re bound to like at least SOMETHING there! Normal things to include are as follows: some olives; cheese (both yellow ‘western-style’ cheese, and a hard white cheese similar to feta cheese, which is particularly tasty); fresh bread; a boiled egg, slices of cucumber and tomato; jam and honey; fresh fruit. This is in addition to some fresh orange juice or a cup of coffee – a great way to start the day!

5) Aside

Cappadocian Aside

Cappadocian Aside

I had this for the first time tonight and it’s like nothing I’ve had before so it’s a bit hard to describe! I can’t say I loved it on first taste, but maybe that’s because the taste was so different and new. It’s made out of grape syrup (or ‘pekmez’), flour and butter, and has a crumbly/sticky texture. Apparently it is similar to another more commonly known dessert called “halwa” but I haven’t tried that either so that’s not much help in describing it. By the end of the plate I didn’t dislike it, and I would certainly be up for trying it again, and it was pretty sweet which always helps!

Tomorrow we set off for Antalya and the southern coast of Turkey, so hopefully more culinary delights will await there!

 

 

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