Turkey – Saturday Farmers’ Market and Wine Tasting

On to the local Saturday Farmers’ Market.

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Lunch at Kantin – an upscale restaurant that could easily be found in Healdsburg, with farm-to-table food and fresh, simple presentations. It was recommended by an American food critic, and although the food was fresh, simple and delicious, I’m wondering why, with so many authentic, elaborate great Turkish restaurants for foreigners to try, Kantin was rated at the top of the list?

Lunch at Kantin

Lunch at Kantin

Police anticipating trouble, as a soccer game is about to begin…

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Gourmet Breakfast at The Backyard… Great concept, fabulous farm fresh food and on-site bakery.

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With Lynsey at The Backyard

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Poached freshly laid egg and bacon

Yachting with Lynsey’s friends and colleagues. The 5 pm call to prayers serenaded us as we toured the grand houses of Istanbul along the Bosphorus.

Our host Arin Cetin

Our host Arin Cetin

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A perfect choice of wine for yachting

A perfect choice of wine for yachting

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I’m ready to move in…

Unfortunately, these homes are passed down through the ages and only under duress do families sell these regal generational homes, which offer a haven of quiet and clean air.

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The Asian side of the Bosphorus

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The night before, Arin was our host in treating us to a terrace table at Poseidon Fish & Wine Center. The moon was almost full — the food was exquisite, and the service incomparable. Thank you again, Arin!

With Chateau Lafite, Chateau Le Pin, Chateau d’Yquem and other wines on the list, and the most sublime fresh fish caught daily, Poseidon is arguably the best fish restaurant in Istanbul.

The last day in Istanbul was spent shopping for antiquities for Lynsey’s new flat. We purchased a beautiful wooden chest that was delivered on a cart through the cobblestoned streets of Istanbul by the shop owner’s friend, who proceeded to hoist it onto his back and carry it up the three flights of stairs to its new home.

My visit in Istanbul ended with Lynsey hosting a Turkish Wine Tasting at her friend Meryem’s, with a view of the Bosphorus.

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Turkish Wine Tasting

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View over Bosphorus, from Meryem’s apartment

The main wine regions of Turkey are:

  • Marmara
  • Aegean
  • Mediterranean
  • Mid-Southern Anatolia
  • Mid-Northern Anatolia
  • Mid-Eastern Anatolia
  • South East Anatolia

Two popular grape varieties I have never tasted before, that grow abundantly in Turkey are Bogazkere and Kalecik Karasi.

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The line-up for our Turkish wine tasting

The wines we tasted that night were:

2010 Prestige – Bogazkere

2012 Okuzgozu – Yazgan (a blend of Bogazkere & Okuzgozu)

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2010 Selection Kavaklidere (which was the group favorite as the two varieties seemed to meld beautifully together)

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2011 Sarafin – Cabernet Sauvignon

2010 Buyulubag – Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot (this was my favorite as the flavors seemed well balanced and the wine a great example of what Turkey can do with traditional varieties.

2009 Kayra – Bogazkere Collectible Series #8

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2010 Prestige – Bogazkere

2008 Corvus – #5 Blend Cabernet Franc / Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah

In closing, a huge hug to Lynsey for her generosity in sharing her life and allowing me a window into her world of Istanbul. Experiencing foreign lands through the eyes of people who live there offer adventures that are rich beyond measure.

 

Colorful, Chaotic Istanbul

Going from serene, respectful, clean and dignified Edinburgh to colorful and chaotic Istanbul has been a bit of a shock for the senses and for the lungs. Ohhh… so much smoke!

And yet, it was amazing to be in this exotic land with Lynsey. She was there at the Istanbul airport to greet me.

Lynsey waiting for me at the airport

Lynsey waiting for me at the airport

My first adventure was riding a bus during rush hour and then walking the busy streets full of food and smells and color and vibrant life, until we reached Lynsey’s apartment located in Cihangir, a tony Istanbul neighborhood.

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Lynsey in her new apartment in the Cihangir neighborhood of Istanbul

We dropped my bags and went off to eat at Privado Café, a small authentic Turkish restaurant where the meal began with superb lentil soup and included a Meda platter, Moussaka and a delicious Georgian red wine.

Day One in Istanbul

Of course we began our first day with a traditional Turkish breakfast including Menemen, topped it off with fresh juice (pomegranate, blood oranges, fresh lemons) from Lynsey’s favorite street vendor, and then Lynsey and I went for a walk on the Bosphorus, where we hopped on a ferry to the Asian side of Istanbul to be met by one of Lynsey’s new friends for a traditional “Donner” lunch of beef kabobs with pita, cucumbers, onions, peppers, ripe tomatoes and yoghurt that tastes like clouds.

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Lynsey’s favorite fruit vendor in Istanbul

It was a day that ended with a glass of Raki at sunset, awaiting the ferry back to the European side of Istanbul. Thank you Chala for your gracious hospitality!

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Wine at sunset on the Asian side of the Bosphorus in Istanbul with Lynsey & Chala

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Mr. Prime Minister you’re not going to stop these two Sonoma gals from buying wine after 10 pm in Istanbul!