fork in my luggage Food

The royal treatment in Turkey

I love being fussed over. So, while holidaying in Turkey, inspired by its grand palaces and buildings, I decided to gift myself some royal treatment. Well whatever royalty I could afford, that is, after spending most of my Turkish Liras eating and shopping my way through the country. At Cappadocia, I booked myself into a charming boutique hotel that’s actually an old mansion converted into a hotel, and ticked the option that provided me with my own private chef.

At my preferred time for dinner, there was a gentle knock on my door to tell me my meal was ready. I waltzed into the dining area which was beautifully lit up by candles. It was a rather lavish meal. Fresh, crunchy salad topped with walnuts and cheese, red lentil soup followed by Yaprak Sarma (mint, onion, and rice wrapped in vine leaves) Karniyarik (eggplant stuffed with minced meat), Iskender kebab, hummus and bread.

For the main course there was pilaf, cacik (raita), kofte and a bit of drama. The chef called me to join him as he held up a clay pot, with the finesse of a showman. The mouth of the pot was sealed with dough. Then, brandishing a giant knife he pointed it in my direction. My heart skipped a beat for a second. “Hold it and when I say ready… break open the pot with it, ok?” And so I did.

Attempt one, unsuccessful, the pot didn’t break; attempt two it cracked a bit, attempt three, it was finally done. “Traditional home-style lamb stew. You eat this and become strong,” he said, lovingly serving a portion. The meal was delicious to say the least. “Ready for something sweet?” he asked. A plate of plump fig soaked in honey and cinnamon and topped with cream was first. Then the grand finale — a slab of honeycomb dripping with honey. It’s sickeningly sweet and the fact that I can see those hexagonal cells bothers me. But I force myself another bite because the chef looks mighty pleased with it. As I leave the chef enquires if I relished the meal. And then with a broad smile announces, “More honey comb for you tomorrow! Good night miss.”

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Printable version | May 29, 2020 8:23:20 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/Food/travelling-in-turkey-and-turkish-cusine/article6249507.ece

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