Istanbul is one of the great food capitals of the world. And Turkish cuisine, according to local gourmand Selin Rozanes, is the “third most important cuisine in the world” after French and Chinese.
You can experience it through spice shops, bakeries, street vendors, fishmongers, and produce markets on a tour of Istanbul arranged by Turkish Flavours, a culinary tourism company founded by Rozanes in 2006.
You’ll spend the first part of the day at the historic (though now quite touristic) Spice Bazaar, sampling freshly ground spices and dried fruits and nuts inside the market and also visiting the butchers, cheese makers, and other purveyors that surround the outside of the 17th-century building.
Then you’ll take a ferry to the Asian side of Istanbul and the colorful market of Kadiköy, where you’ll taste exquisite treats like fried mussels, handmade baklava, cheeses, pickled vegetables, pomegranate syrup, and more as you wander the stalls.
Sit down to lunch at the famous Ciya Sofrasi restaurant, specializing in food from southeastern Turkey. You can watch bread and lahmacun (a pizza-like dough topped with meat) baking in a brick oven and sample an array of flavors as you taste more than 20 different dishes.
“Istanbul houses a mosaic of cultures that have lived happily together for many years,” Rozanes said. “The cuisine is made up of flavors that are a combination of the vast heritage of those food cultures and influenced also by Turkey’s countryside cuisine.”
Visit www.turkishflavours.com for more information.