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 coffeepot 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, D.C., 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 10. 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 Out of Istanbul
no responses - Posted 11.25.14
Zeynep Arca Şallıel had a successful career in advertising in Istanbul, but in 1995 she decided to take on a daunting new challenge: taking part in the revival of small-scale viniculture in the ancient winemaking region of Thrace. “I wanted to do something with soil, something that mattered a little bit ...continue
no responses - Posted 08.29.14
Misty, lush Fırtına Valley is worlds away from Istanbul’s concrete urban hustle. It’s a land of cascading waterfalls, rushing rivers, wild edibles and precipitous hillsides covered with glossy tea bushes. We came to escape Istanbul’s infamous August heat and learn about the region’s special foods. After a week, we had stomped ...continue
no responses - Posted 05.19.14
The cuisine of Antep deserves every bit of the praise it receives. In the city known as the gastronomic temple of Turkey, the world’s most refined kebab traditions are obsessively guarded by a cadre of traditional ustas in this southeastern Turkish city’s grilling institutions. Baklava workshops are steeped in an ...continue
no responses - Posted 03.01.13
Editor’s note: This guest post was written by Nicolas Nicolaides, an Istanbul-born Greek who moved to Athens in 1988. Nicolaides is a Ph.D. student in history at the University of Athens whose research focuses on the Karamanlılar (Greeks from Central Anatolia). Once a resort town on the outskirts of the Greek ...continue
12 responses - Posted 07.10.12
Whenever we find ourselves far from Turkey’s shores for any extended period of time, nostalgic hunger pangs soon set in. Sure, we quickly develop a hankering for a juicy Adana kebab or even for the simple taste of a simit washed down with some strong tea. But what we really ...continue
3 responses - Posted 05.24.12
In Rotterdam, one of Europe’s most culturally mixed cities, you’d expect a more diverse street food scene. The Rotterdam diet does embrace shwarma, Vietnamese spring rolls and Turkish lahmacun, but then Dutchifies the food by dousing it with liberal squirts of mayo. Due to cultural assimilation or by catering to ...continue
1 response - Posted 07.01.11
When traveling by bus in Turkey, we tend to get anxious as the dinner hour approaches. As the bus downshifts, through the mesh shades we see a gleaming rest area/cafeteria/gas station/carwash facility specifically constructed for cross-country bus traffic. We feel trapped, robbed of the chance to eat at a local ...continue
2 responses - Posted 06.20.11
Editor’s note: This guest post comes courtesy of Salih Seçkin Sevinç, author of the great Turkish-language food blog Harbi Yiyorum (loosely translated as “Eating, For Real”). On my last two journeys to the Gallipoli region, I made sure to make a stop along the way for satır et, an awesome dish ...continue
3 responses - Posted 03.07.11
(Editor's Note: Intrepid traveler and eater Sherri Cohen recently gave us the goods on the Tekirdağ köfte scene. Today, once again on the road, she brings us news of the historic rebirth of an almost extinct street snack in Izmir.) The denizens of Izmir like to think of themselves as the ...continue
3 responses - Posted 01.17.11
Editor’s note: This week, Istanbul Eats hops on the bus and heads west to sample the Thrace region’s most famous köfte in its native environment. Guest writers Sherri Cohen and Alex Hallowell, Fulbright English Teaching Assistants at Namık Kemal University in Tekirdağ, have run the gut-busting gauntlet to bring you ...continue