SaturdayFiled under News, Out of Istanbul
We are very happy to announce that in May we’ll be offering a springtime edition of “Culinary Secrets of Gaziantep,” our three-day eating and hands-on cooking adventure in Turkey’s gastronomic mecca.
An ancient city not far from Turkey’s southern border, a meeting point between the Arab Middle East and Turkish Anatolia,Gaziantep over the centuries has developed a culinary culture that is deeply rooted in the rhythm of the agricultural lands surrounding it and that is maintained with great pride and honor by the city’s cooks and food makers. Gaziantep is also the source for many of Turkish cuisine’s iconic dishes – the city’s famous baklava is without compare and its kebabs are truly works of art, the standard by which all others are measured.
The trip is a collection of our experiences and discoveries over many trips to Gaziantep, sometimes for reporting but mostly just for the pleasure of eating. As in Istanbul and our other cities, this experience is designed to intertwine traditional culinary heritage with history and street life and to celebrate local families and purveyors who keep the old traditions alive. Over the three days, we will meet local artisans working in Gaziantep’s old city, from bakers to coffee pot makers; eat with a home cook making some of the most authentic dishes in the city; have interactive workshops where we learn to make some of Gaziantep’s most beloved dishes; and, of course, get an audience with some of the city’s high priests of baklava- and kebab-making. We won’t consider the trip finished until we’ve tasted the best and shaken the hand of the masters who make it. And since it’s spring, we’ll spend a day eating at and observing life on a farm harvesting what’s in season: saffron, almonds, keme (AKA “the desert truffle”) and firik (smoked cracked wheat). We’ll also visit some local spots serving up seasonal specialties like kebabs made with fresh garlic or loquats.
Here’s what Michael Costa, head chef at the celebrated José Andrés restaurant Zaytinya in Washington, DC had to say about his time on last year’s trip: “Culinary Backstreets delivered above and beyond anything I could have expected. I read Culinary Backstreets because it isn’t about finding the most hyperbolic way to praise or insult a restaurant. It’s about falling in love with a place and its culinary heritage. It’s about people and stories. They curated an experience that is the benchmark by which I will judge all future culinary travel.”
The adventure, which will take place May 11-13 and 25-27, is designed for groups of up to ten. Lodging will be provided at Anadolu Evleri, a grand traditional Gaziantep home in the old city that has been converted into a charming boutique hotel. The cost is $1100/person (double room) or $1200/person (single) and includes lodging and all meals and activities, though not transportation to Gaziantep. You can read more about the upcoming trip and find booking information here. Also check out this post on the New York Times’ In Transit blog about last year’s program.
All entries filed under News
no responses - Posted 09.09.14
Last week we had our last meal at the iconic Beşiktaş kaymak shop Pando. The framed news clippings were all boxed up; the marble-topped tables that lined the blue and white walls of the tiny place were in the storage space of a friend somewhere in the neighborhood. All that was left was ...continue
no responses - Posted 08.08.14
It was at a dinner at Mikla, one of Istanbul’s fanciest restaurants, that we identified a turning point in this city’s restaurant culture, one which might finally favor the informal, traditional and often overlooked local eateries that are the heart, soul and lovely underbelly of this city. In one brief ...continue
no responses - Posted 03.13.14
Since coming to Istanbul more than a decade ago, we have come to associate a loaf of the city’s iconic crusty white bread with satisfying lunches in an esnaf lokantası, using chunks of the humble loaf to sop up whatever was left on our plate. Since Tuesday, though, a loaf of bread has ...continue
no responses - Posted 01.02.14
Turkey’s European Union membership bid may be stuck in the mud, but a different dynamic is at work on the food front. To wit: the European Commission has granted Gaziantep baklava a spot on its list of protected designations of origin and geographical indications. It’s the first Turkish product and ...continue
no responses - Posted 11.04.13
As a chill sets in and heavy clouds roll over Istanbul, turning the Bosphorus battleship gray, we say goodbye to the luscious strawberries and blood-red tomatoes in the market. Fall marks the start of hamsi season, a time when small anchovies fill the nets of fishing boats on the Black ...continue
1 response - Posted 10.11.13
Situated on a geographically blessed spot where the waters of the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara meet, Istanbul has long been associated with fishing and, especially, the eating of fish. In culinary terms, after all, is there anything more iconic in Istanbul than eating a freshly grilled fish ...continue
no responses - Posted 07.31.13
We are very proud to have been included in a New York Times article about small group culinary tours that appears on the front page of today’s Dining section. Looking at food walks in Istanbul, Paris, Rome and a few other culinary capitals, the article hails the arrival of a ...continue
no responses - Posted 06.03.13
We generally prefer to keep our nose in a bowl of soup and out of the political arena, but over the weekend, Istanbul’s politics seeped through the cracks in our windows, in the form of teargas and general mayhem. As longtime foreign residents of Istanbul, we’ve found it relatively easy ...continue
no responses - Posted 05.23.13
Istanbul Eats, together with Caravansarai Art Space, is hosting a monthlong celebration of Perşembe Pazarı’s esnaf lokantaları (tradesmen’s restaurants) by launching a competition. And you are invited! The month of June is dedicated to revealing and enjoying the hidden (or sometimes very visible) treasures of Perşembe Pazarı, a hardware-selling neighborhood in ...continue
1 response - Posted 04.26.13
In the realm of Turkey’s small businesses, the esnaf lokantası (tradesmen’s restaurant) hovers above everything like a uniting holy spirit. A good one certainly is divine in nature. Take just about any old esnaf lokantası, and you’re sure to encounter a community that only exists at that particular spot on ...continue