A day that is so full of adventure and wonder, needs to be fueled, right? In Cappadocia, one is spoiled for choice, as anywhere in Türkiye. Starting from the sumptuous and overwhelming typical Turkish breakfast to the vast varieties of delicious local cuisines, one is surrounded with tastes and textures that leave one spellbound.
Clay Pot Kebab (Testi Kebab)
One unique dish to Cappadocia is the clay pot kebab. Meat, vegetables, and lentils are slow cooked in a sealed clay pot in traditional earthen ovens. When the pot is broken, the smoky aroma and flavour that lies within burst out and fills one with sublime satisfaction. To accompany your meal, please do try the local wine, something the area is famous for. Explore the taste of Cappadocia, it is hard to put down all that one can taste and enjoy here.
Kayısı Yahnisi is a fusion of apricots and meats, cooked in an earthen pot, on a wood burner, which has a rustic yet paradoxically sophisticated bouquet of textures and flavors. It is usually made from sweet apricots called “bitirgen”. If the apricot is not sweet, grape molasses is added to it while cooking. Pieces of meat or minced meat is cooked in the pot with apricots.
Other Cappadocian flavors include wedding soup called thin bulgur, milk soup made by adding milk to boiled bulgur, chickpea stew made with mutton, interesting dish of apricot and meat, stuffed apricots, quince stuffing, Gendime, Arapaşı, Peşmani dishes. The common feature of all of them is that they are brewed in pottery unique to the region. Do not bypass the pumpkin desert or pumpkin seeds harvested in early September.
Zerdeli Pilav is a gastronomical explosion of flavors and textures, combining elements that usually people would not think to put together. Layers of rice infused with grape molasses lay upon layers of rice and chickpea, blended with peeled almonds and raisins, and traces of coconut, release a cornucopia of emotions that titillates and refreshes the senses.
Turkish Mantı is an institution in itself, and just may be the biggest surprise and gastronomical pleasure of a visit to Türkiye. Mantı is made from pasta dough cut into stamp sized squares and stuffed with a heady mixture of minced meat, onion, parsley, pepper and salt. The pasta is then folded into delicate triangular packets of mini delight. The process of preparing mantı is time consuming but sure is worth the effort. It is usually served with garlic infused yogurt and spicy butter sauce, garnished with sumac and mint.
Kuru kaymak is a creamy dairy food similar to clotted cream and usually served with organic honey. It has a luxurious texture and very addictive. An average of seven kilograms of milk in its own special tray, boiling on wood fire for about ten hours. Generally, by the local people, it is produced from fresh milk in the plateaus. Dry cream, generally preferred with honey, is indispensable taste. Boiled milk in a tray placed on a well-heated tandoori, then poured into foaming. After an hour or two on the fire in the tandoor, the cream of the milk accumulated on the tray was removed with a knife, cut from the edges. The cut cream is folded in half with a thin rolling pin and is placed on a sieve and dried in the shade, and Voila!
It would not be fair if you had come all this way and return without trying the delicious Cappadocian wines. This region holding the well-established winemaking tradition for thousands of years, owes its famous vineyards to the tuff formed by the volcanic activities. Anatolian grapes such as Öküzgözü, Kalecik Karası, Boğazkere, Narince and Emir grow graciously thanks to the rich tuff soil. It gets better! Cappadocia wineries are open for visitation all year long, making your trip possible at any given moment.
Click here to learn more about the best local delicacies of Cappadocia.