We have all heard about the culinary delights of Turkish food and so have high expectations when we visit. But for many travelers, the real surprise is the array of foods that they are often faced with at breakfast. Breakfast in Turkey can seem to be a never ending cornucopia of foods and tastes that vary from region to region.
Breakfast, for many people, is an important and substantial meal and surprisingly often begins with a bowl of soup, especially in winter.
Turkish breakfasts – whether served in a large, luxury setting or in a small home – will feature platters of cheeses accompanied by tomatoes, cucumber and olives. Turkey has an astonishing array of cheeses ranging from soft white cheeses to aged cheeses to cheeses made with herbs. Unfortunately many of these aren’t found in Australia.
Most breakfast tables also include a selection of tasty and tempting jams, often made from unusual ingredients such as rose petals or eggplant, or other spreads which may include tahini or pekmez (a slightly sour fruit molasses), or yoghurt flavoured with herbs. Honey also often makes an appearance on the table and is believed to have healthy properties.
Then there are the egg dishes – a simple boiled egg or a pan of menemen (eggs scrambled in a rich and tasty tomato and pepper sauce) or eggs baked with sucuk (spicy sausage) or pastırma (spicy smoked and dried beef) to share. In Blacksea areas, mıhlama or kuymak made from a polenta-style grain and melted cheese may also be shared.
Ekmek (bread) comes in many forms, whether it be a crusty white baguette style loaf, pide (flat bread), lavaṣ (paper thin bread) or a sesame seed encrusted bagel-like ring called simit. Bread is always present and is handy for scraping up all sorts of delicious flavours.
Although the Turkish word for breakfast is kahvaltı – meaning “before coffee”, it is tea that is the mainstay of this meal, generally served black, with or without sugar, in small tulip shaped glasses.
Written by Afiyet Olsun
Share the Turkish people’s love of food and dine with us at the Traditional Turkish Breakfast to be held at the Turkish Pazar Festival on 13 March 2016 at the Queen Victoria Market. Here you will taste a range of traditional Turkish breakfast food and learn about customs and traditions associated with this meal.
Sittings of the breakfast will be at 10.15 and 11.15am and will cost $25.00 ($20.00 concession). Bookings are recommended and can be made at firstname.lastname@example.org