After trying all the delicious food in Istanbul, you won’t want to leave without bringing some of it home. Here are some tips about what to buy for gifts and for yourself.
The smell of Turkish coffee will transport you back to Istanbul in no time. Since a special preparation process is involved, besides the perfect dark roasted beans from Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi you might also want to get a cezve, the traditional Turkish coffee pot.
Let’s be honest, if you’re not a tea connoisseur you will never be able to tell the difference between various places of origin of the black tea. What makes the Turkish variety so special is the presentation in tulip-shaped glasses. The renowned glass coasters that you’ve seen all over town are available from Paşabahçe.
Lokum (Turkish delight) is an easy-to-carry classic match with the coffee you’ve just bought—beautifully balancing the bitterness of the drink. If you tried it before and didn’t get blown away, perhaps you didn’t try it at the right place. For the ultimate gourmet offerings go to Harem Chocolate or Bakir Kazan.
Although the planet has turned into a global village, and imported goods are available in supermarkets all around the world, nothing can replace a product purchased in its place of origin that will elevate your home cooking.
To start with, grab a bottle of nar ekşisi (pomegranate molasses), which will add a sweet and sour note to your salads. When selecting, pay attention to labels to make sure you don’t end up with nar ekşisi sos, the cheaper and artificial variety common in supermarkets.
You might also want to look into sumac, the red spice with a mild lemony flavor often used in Middle Eastern cooking. Try it on salad and grilled meat to replace lemon juice. Besides, you can never go wrong with hazelnuts and nut-based products from Turkey since the country is the world’s largest producer.