Tuesday, October 6, 2015


   Winter is coming so we thought it would be nice to introduce some of flavours you might come across in Istanbul during the year's coldest months. These tastes are so much a part of Turkish culture that they don't just fill our stomach, but also shape our winter experience too. Below our some of favourites..

   Sahlep is special local drink containing gluten and made from grinding the dried tubers of the orchid,milk and sugar.After boiling,all the ingridients together, it is served with cinnamon powder and drinked as scalding hot. Traditionally it has the reputation here for curing digestive problems and gum disease as well as increasing resistance against coughs and colds.
   Another common drink as well is called ''Boza'' a fermented beverage made of maize,sugar,water and cinnamon powder while serving it. Boza is one of those very traditional drinks and it is typically sold in winter although it is not a hot drink It is associated with cold days because it has warming effect. If you want to taste those drinks,Vefa Bozacisi since its foundation 1876,is still the best adress in Istanbul.

Thursday, September 17, 2015


The Golden Horn geographically separates the historic center of Istanbul from the rest of the city, and forms a natural, sheltered harbor that has historically protected Greek,Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman and other maritime trade ships for thousands of years. While the reference to a "horn" is understood to refer to the inlet's general shape, the significance of the designation "golden" is more obscure, with historians believing it to refer to either the riches brought into the city through the bustling historic harbor located along its shores, or to romantic artistic interpretations of the rich yellow light blazing upon the estuary's waters as the sun sets over the city. Its Greek and English names mean the same, while its Turkish name, Haliç, simply means "estuary", and is derived from the Arabic word Khaleej meaning ''gulf''.

There are many myths about Golden Horn told from generations to generations. One of the most famous is about Keroessa, heroine of the foundational myth of Byzantium. According to the historian Hesychius of Miletus,[3] as Io, changed into a heifer and being chased by a gadfly on behalf of the jealous Hera, was passing through Thrace, she gave birth to a girl, Keroessa, on the banks of the Golden Horn, by the altar of the nymph Semestra. Keroessa was reared by Semestra and grew up surpassing other local maidens in beauty. She had intercourse with Poseidon and in due course gave birth to a son, whom she named Byzas. He became the founder of Byzantium and named the Golden Horn after his mother.

According to one of the 14th century excursionists Ibn Battuta, Golden Horn was like a forest of boats, from galleons to small fishing boats, It was vast and was blocking the view and also people live in European side called people live in Asia side ‘blind people’ as they always ignored the importance of the Golden Horn.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Turkish Breakfast is always a good idea!

How about starting your day with an amazing Turkish breakfast?

Turkish breakfast is both a meal and an event. In any case, it’s an unmissable experience on any trip to Istanbul.

A classic Turkish breakfast, better known as 'kahvaltı' consists of fresh cheeses like feta,  black and green olives, fresh-baked white bread, black and/or green olives, fruit preserves, honey, kaymak, mihlama, börek, fried egg with sucuk,sliced tomatoes and/or cucumbers, jam  and plenty of brewed black tea served in Turkish tea glasses.

Highlights of Turkish Breakfast: 

1- Fried eggs with sucuk -  A Turkish breakfast favorite is sucuk cooked on a pan mostly with eggs (sucuklu yumurta). Sucuk is dried sausage made of ground beef with garlic and a variety of spices like red pepper, cumin and sumac. It may be somewhat spicy and fatty, but it sure is awfully delicious.

2- Simit -  Simit  is a circular bread with a hole in the center, covered with sesame seeds. You can buy simit at bakeries across Turkey, as well as from street sellers in the mornings.   

3- Börek -  Börek is a dish made with yufka, a dough much like phyllo pastry. Inside the layers of yufka you'll find a display of Turkish creativity: from minced meat to eggplant, cheese to potatoes, börek comes with various fillings each designed to give you a different experience. 

4- Mıhlama - A quintessential Black Sea dish made with butter, corn flour and cheese; can be eaten any meal of the day...

5- Bal/ Kaymak - There is nothing more decadent than a bite of bal kaymak (honey and cream). Kaymak is clotted cream, scraped off the top of fresh milk and refrigerated. Because nothing here is ever done half-heartedly, Turks spread kaymak on a slice of bread - and on top of that, a layer of honey.

Olives (zeytin) -  Black zeytin range from small, luscious oil-cured to rather dry, too-salty ones. Green olives are flavorful but tart, sometimes bitter, and rarely stuffed with pimiento.

7-  Menemen - Turkish style scrambled eggs with tomatoes, cheese and sliced green peppers..

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Akide Candy

      During the reign of the Ottoman Empire sugar acquired a new identity and became known as akide candy. "Akide" means a confession of faith and stands for trust, loyalty and solidarity. Every three months, a meal was served to the Janissaries in the palace garden when their remuneration was distributed. If the Janissaries were satisfied with their food and payment, they would present akide candy to high court officials as a symbol of loyalty to the Sultan... 

       A number of factors contributed to the characteristics of akide candy making its quality unique. The raw materials used and the mastery with which it was prepared ensured its high standard. Honey was added to enhance its flavour and the ingredients such as fruits and nuts where sourced from specialised regions, harvested at their peak and blended expertly depending on which type of candy was being produced.

      To make akide candy, sugar syrup containing 35-40% water is boiled in copper cauldrons over a wood fire to attain the correct temperature and consistency. The flavours are added to the sugar syrup while it cools. The malleable candy is then shaped into the desired form...

 You should try them at Ali Muhiddin Hacı Bekir, Şekerci Cafer Erol, or Üç Yıldız Şekerlemecisi in Istanbul... 

Friday, April 3, 2015


Did you know?
   Piri Reis’s last creation was a second world map, which included more detail than his first. This map included, for example, an increased number of ports, raising the number on the map from 130 to 210. Unfortunately, only a 1/4 of this map survives today.
   Piri Reis is a well known Ottoman-Turkish admiral, geographer and cartographer from the 16th century who lived between 1470 and 1553. Setting out to sea at an early age under his uncle’s command, he lived for a while as a pirate in the Mediterranean. After a call for help from the Ottoman sultan, he decided to assist the Ottoman Navy, fighting side by side with them in famous victories. Tragically, he lost his uncle in a sea accident, leading to his decision to exile himself for two years, during which time he gave himself over to learning and to research of naval knowledge. This led to perhaps his greatest victory: what is today the oldest scientific world map, created as a result of research and study of many historical writings from different countries and from different centuries. His drawing contained numerous details of the west coasts of Africa and Europe and the east coasts of America and the Atlantic Ocean, as well as, amazingly, mountains in the Antarctic. In fact, how Piri Reis created some of the map’s stunning detail and accuracy remains a mystery to this day. This milestone of maps, colorfully painted on parchment, now proudly lays claim to being the oldest map of the world. Unfortunately, only about 1/6 of the map remains in existence, housed in the great Ottoman bastion, Topkapı Palace. The map was finished in 1513—fitting then that UNESCO chose 2013, the 500th anniversary, to commemorate the Piri Reis Map. Not content merely with mapmaking, Piri Reis created his Kitabi Bahriye (Book of Navigation), which he dedicated to the peoples of the Mediterranean, demonstrating his great sense of humanity and understanding that skin color, language, and beliefs do not, or at least should not, separate peoples of the world.
Piri Reis would eventually lose his life thanks to the Governor of Egypt. Reis’s refusal to obey certain rules resulted in him being beheaded in Cairo. Perhaps today we can view his demise as a ‘romantic’ end to such a colorful and productive life. But what is undeniable is that Piri Reis’s creations stand as beacons of knowledge from his era.