When people ask me what it is that makes my favorite countries stand out, the food almost always has something to do with it. This shouldn’t be a surprise as travel and food really go hand in hand. What better way to experience culture in another country than by sharing a meal? This is no different for Turkey. Even before my first visit I was told by many how great the food is there. When I questioned these people on what exactly makes the food in Turkey so awesome I could never seem to get a strong argument. Small dishes, cold dishes, eggplant, and meat on spits were common words and phrases in the conversations. None of which was selling me on Turkey as a culinary destination.
I wasn’t convinced.
Don’t get me wrong, I love a good kebab. Although tasty, (especially at three in morning) street meat was far from helping me make Turkey one of my favorite places to enjoy a meal. To help me understand why Turkey gets such high marks for its cuisine I decided to take a cooking class while in Istanbul and enlisted Selin from Turkish Flavours to shed some light on the subject.
Selin is awesome. Her passion for food and travel makes her the perfect host for international visitors. She guided us through the Spice Bazaar to give us a background on what is at the root of Turkish cuisine before taking us on a scenic ferry ride to her kitchen in Istanbul's Asian side.
Cooking with Selin was like cooking with family. We joked, drank wine, and tasted – all over our international love of food. It was great. Although we were making several dishes at once Selin’s instructions and approach made it very enjoyable and felt like a breeze. We made an amazing lentil soup special for the cool and wet Istanbul day while prepping our eggplants for the meat stuffing that was already simmering on one of the stoves. We grated and chopped vegetables like a pro – but not as professional as Selin and her rose bud tomato, but still pretty great.
I could go on about how great it was to feel like I had a family in a foreign country and how amazing the food was smelling but really the proof was in the pudding, and by pudding I mean stuffed eggplant, lentil Soup, pastry rolls, salads, and stuffed apricots with clotted cream. It was all so good and so flavorful.
Spending a day cooking with Selin and Turkish Flavors was by far my favorite time in Istanbul – both on the Europe and Asia sides. It’s not often you get the chance to spend the day cooking with someone who makes you feel truly at home their country, city, and apartment. Selin and Turkish Flavours can do just that and more.
Highly recommend for foodies and those looking to feel at home in the largest city in Europe.
For more as well as pictures from the day see here http://www.thislifeintrips.com/reviews/turkish-flavours-review/