CULINARY EXPERIENCES ISTANBUL

ISTANBUL CULINARY EXPERIENCES - FULL RANGE

Duration   You can book this tour full day  or half day

Content    This  tour not only offers great tastes  flavours and delicasies of Istanbul , but also introduces in between each experience,  some impressive  neighborhood exploration with some lovely  legends,  tales  for a truly memorable day.

The Tour  Options

1. Backstreet flavours

Options : Su boregi, Kol boregi eggplant kebab, cag kebabi, tantuni, shobiyet, baklava, lahmacun, kokorech, pickles ( and great veggie options for vegan and vegetereans) , Ocra soup, Siveydiz or Stinging nettle soup according to season,  Konya Mevlana Pidesi,  turkish coffee, turkish black tea, higher end turkish delight  plus more.  (please kindly note that  all are not included, some of the listed courses are optional )

2.  18 course sampling menu to include some select delicasies and courses from the background below with the title,  Notes on the origins of Turkish Gastronomy and culinary experience in Istanbul.

3. Ottoman palace cuisine sampling menu.

 

First option above is a 6 hour tour. The others are 2-3  hour experiences.

Sampling options  Suboregi, Baklava,  Sobiyet, Cag kebabi, Eggplant kebab, saksuka, chard with almond, humus, semsekli pide, mini lahmacun  of Gaziantep, Infidel’s mountain salad,  Sogan kebabi ( 18 course impressive sampling menu also available)

This culinary experience  is definitely   a great way to explore the multi cultural assets of Istanbul.  Istanbul,  as the  capital  to  Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman empires  inherits and shares an unprecedented multi culturally segmented culinary experience.   Your introduction to  Turkish, Ottoman,   Mediterrenean Anatolian and Eastern Turkey cuisine.  Some great delicasies indigenous to this part of the world according to your choice ( kibbe – icli kofte , infidel’s mountain salad, shobiyet, baklava, kunefe, burma kadayif)  will also be included.

This tour  also crosses  over to Asian Istanbul  in search for some special  tastes.  The meals and delicasies come with some stories, legend and background.  A cultural experience. The best Baklava  ever in your life experience   and a great Kebab  is the oath of the tour. Perfect  veggie specials are also available for our vegan or vegiterrenean guests. Turkish cuisine excells in vegetables cooked in olive oil ,   with  the sauces  added they become even more  delicious.

The tour also goes through neighborhoods which are not covered by the mainstream tours, so that further Istanbul siteseeing is added to the tour as a surplus while enjoying an authentic  gastronomical experience.

 

Notes on the Turkish cuisine and culinary experience in Istanbul

 

Ottoman Empire Imperial cuisine 15th to 19th centuries through various sources originating from the palace made it to our day and  it is   served at some fine-dine restaurants, one is just listed by Michelin this year, in  2022.

The palace cuisine is famous for blending dried fruits and nuts with beef or lamb cooked together   in  broth. For vegetarians there are also some great options  as described below.

 Mediterranean cuisine selections  accommodate a vegetarian or vegan perfectly well. Centuries old traditional herbal – vegetable dishes cooked in olive oil , preferably with freshly baked out of the oven flat bread called pide, tırnaklı  or lavaş with sesame and or nigella seeds sprinkled and    steam steam carrying the delicious smell around is revealing an experience not to be missed.

Humus, fried eggplant in tomato or yogurt sauce, chard with almond cooked medium in olive oil , purslane with thick homemade  yogurt,    grape leaf wrapping seasoned rice with currant and sour cherry in one version ( pine nut in the orginal formula) are among delicate options  you will try.   Homemade yogurt used as a sauce with or without garlic in some of these vegetable dishes is a great deviation from industrial yogurt of the western world and it makes a great taste difference, especially if it is from ox or goat milk.

Muhammara –Walnut, pepper paste, dried and ground  bread, herbs,  ad olive oil.

Hibesh – Crushed chickpeas flavoured with cumin, garlic, tahini, chili pepper, and lemonjuice

Vişneli Yaprak Sarma – Stuffed Vine Leaves with Sour Cherries, rice, spices.

Babbaganush – Baked and peeled aubergine and gren pepper with garlic and yoghurt

  Island of Crete is part of the Mediterranean cuisine, and as well as being a Greek island , this is a former Ottoman Island. Actually after First World war during the population exchange  between Greece and Turkey , some of the islanders had to migrate to Turkey, this explains the Cretan origin or the name of the restaurant bearing the name “Giritli”in a number of coastal cities in Turkey,  which  immediately increases the expectation for attentively cooked to perfection  seafood or herbs, weeds, veggies.

Inhabitants from the Black Sea region and inland Turkey also have their great recipes but the following  background emphasizes Aegean and Mediterranean origins which    may give a hint for  why in Istanbul, or along the Aegean coast, or the Mediterrenean   there are an extraordinarily successful, truly delicious vegetable dishes:

On the island Crete, a natural member of the Mediterranean cuisine, as well as along the Aegean coast , a well known fact is, they said they could almost eat any veggie,  herb or weed   a goat could eat. They loved their veggies, herbs, weeds so much. Sauteing in olive the veggie – herb rare, they could add a yogurt sauce, tomato sauce, or just squeeze lemon and olive oil. The following story may be an example to the dedication of the Mediterranean people to vegetarian cuisine: One day a boy sees a goat and a man picking some herbs from their field.  He runs back home a short distance,  asking  what to do, the response is , “Son, let the goat nibble when it feels  full it will go away anyways, but just get the man out!

Baklava    Some of the best baklava of the world definitely come from Istanbul. In the imperial kitchen of the Ottoman Empire,  importance of Baklava is as much as meat and rice. Baklava is the desert of days of importance like celebrations, Islamic important feasts, engagements. The desert to share the mood of the happiness in the form of a morsel.  “Aşure” and akide şekeri ( candy of commitment) which we will also sample are also likewise, but baklava is  above all others. In Matbah-ı Amire of Topkapı Palace records, the ingredients of baklava that is made for palace inhabitants include walnut, honey and sadeyağ ( purified butter) , commonly used as a result not   mentioned is   phyllo dough.

Not only the best ingredients, best pistachio, best cured  butter, and a superior chef with one whole life dedicated to baklava making , but also you should be served your baklava on the same day of the making, preferably within the first few hours is even a more impressive taste.

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