Famous Turkish sweets and treats
While Turkey is known for its rich culture, the country also holds some of the best kept secrets of desserts which are sheer ambrosia to the senses.
In the holy month of Ramadan, with the sight of a new crescent moon in the lavender sky, families gather together to greet each other and the taste of the sweetest sugar feels sweeter.
The end of the holy month is also known as Sugar Feast in Turkey as desserts and sweets are a common practice to greet the guests to mark the celebration of Eid.
Famous for its mix of flavours and health benefits, Meditterranean diet mostly consists of traditional foods from the 19th century. It is also said that you could explore half of the Middle East through its flavours.
One way is to order from a Mediterranean restaurant in a non Mediterranean country, while the other way could be acquainting the self with exotic ingredients from the region while tasting them in their most original form.
Let us go on this sweet journey through Turkey as we taste the flavours through our thoughts while we visualize the beautiful flavours of Middle East.
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More Than Turkish Delight
Besides simple flavours for the mouth like Baklava, which is also Turkey’s national dessert, the best of traditional shops can be explored in Istanbul for those in search of an authentic taste. Sweets as simple as Turkish rice pudding have been prepared for many generations by the local shops around Istanbul.
So as you roam around the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, the largest covered market in the world and also known as world's first shopping mall, be prepared to witness the ocean of colourful candies decorated along a chain of shops welcoming visitors, not to mention the thousands of other shops selling everything one could imagine to buy as a souvenir.
While Turkish delight, which is also called lokum in traditional language, is famous all over the world for its richness, Turkey is home to even more sweeter inventions than these assortments of sweets coated with flavours.
Desserts as simple as Turkish clotted cream with bread pudding to even those taking several hours to make and are only available in local shops run since generations make it worth visiting the place for its original taste.
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Green and Sweet
Sugar and health might not be the best of friends but what happens when there is freshness of herbs which gives the double benefit of taste with good health?
Many local bazaars in Istanbul are full of vendors selling sweets of various textures which are famous both among locals and tourists alike. There are various herbal drinks which have been popular since the times of the Ottomans and still come in a variety of flavours. In Turkey, herbal tea is usually used for medicinal purposes with flavours coming from a range of flowers and fruits.
Just because knowledge could be fun, Turkey is also home to world's first green ice cream factory. The ice cream plant set in the country is based on using alternative sources of energy for production. Although the ice cream that comes out of it might be just the regular flavour!
This Unmeltable Ice Cream
There would probably be no part of the world which would be unfamiliar with the term ice cream, but what is famous about Turkish ice cream is its unique texture, something very different from the one found in Western cultures.
The ingredient used in its preparation makes it seem like heat resistant in nature, which in most cases would require a spoon to consume a bite due to its chewiness.
Dondruma, or Maras ice cream in Turkish, is much thicker and chewy than the regular ice cream found anywhere else due to being made from the raisin obtained from the Mastic tree.
For its unmeltable texture, it is also served in a unique way by vendors around Istanbul. Make sure that you grab your ice cream before it melts away or not, as your vendor might not be easily willing to give you one.
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Mediterranean diet is loaded with fruits from the region which are consumed as salads and also the main courses. Some of the raw fruits in the region include pears, melons and peaches, which although are available elsewhere, but eating a good Mediterranean fruit salad on a table by the sea would surely be as refreshing as it sounds.
There are as many as 70 varieties of fruits available in Turkey, with some of them being very less used elsewhere. Quince, one of the exotic fruits in the region, is something resembling between an apple and a pear, and is famous for its nice aroma.
Besides many of the fruits due to their non transportable nature, could be found in best of their taste in their home country. Like the case of figs which is considered as one of the best fruits of Turkey.
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Little Hagia Sophia
Little Hagia Sophia
While the big sister of this ancient monument is located just minutes away from this site, this centuries old church turned mosque, also known as Little Hagia Sophia, is a secluded little place by the Marmara sea, with many little shops and markets by its side.
Wait! weren’t we just talking about sweets?
Trabazon, the town home to this age-old monument, has a number of shops located in the main square with a tea garden at the center making it a nice place to spend some time in silence while witnessing a quiet side of Istanbul.
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For a Good Heart
In the Mediterrenean region of Turkey, date palm trees are a common sight where the fruits get plenty of exposure in the Arabian sun.
In the rest of the world, dates could be restricted to dry fruits whereas in the Middle East the fruit is prepared in various forms of desserts, something which can only be explored while travelling through Turkish bazaars. The sweetest part this fruit is known for is the tradition of breaking the holy month of fasting with the first bite of dates.
It is said in Arabic that he who has health has hope and who has hope has everything. What better way to look for health when in the company of good Middle Eastern dates?
The ordinary dates in packets could be way more different than the one’s found in this region. So on your next visit to this land, be sure to get a good greeting of dates with Turkish tea.
With the sweetness of the sweetest sugar getting sour in front of these Mediterranrean delights, it would surely be a different experience to get an undiscovered taste in this country of Middle East.
And who knows, by your next visit to Istanbul you might be sure just where to find the sweetest side of Turkey.
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