Results tagged “hemsin”

Turkey I: Bulgaria to Georgia (nearly)

Smsimitbaker0001.JPGGiven just how big Turkey is, we originally thought we'd be sensible and really not try to cover the whole country.  Obviously we'd go to Istanbul, we should probably see some of the archaeology on the Aegean coast, and we'd probably have time in between to see a bit of the middle, maybe visit Cappadocia if we were feeling adventurous.

But as soon as we started talking to people in Istanbul about what was out there - from the perspective of food and culture as well as good old tourism - we realised we really had to do a lot more than that.  It took longer than we'd planned (sorry Greece, sorry Slovenia) - but it was definitely worth it.

This is the story of the first half - from crossing in over the hills on the Bulgarian border, to getting to our easternmost point in Erzurum (about 150 miles from Iran).  Read all about it - there's mosques!  Aubergines!  Preserved yoghurt!  Getting stopped by police!  Getting massaged by blacksmiths!  And lots lots more ...

Hemşin fondue

Mehmet Demirci kindly made ‘mulhama’ for us when we stayed at his eco-lodge.  Mehmet and his wife Kadar are Hemşin, that is to say mountain people of the Kaçkar mountains in northeast Turkey, originally of Armenian descent. There are several traditional dishes typical of the Hemşin, of which mulhama, a hearty cheese fondue, is perhaps the most well known. 

Smmulhama0001.jpgWe’d spent the afternoon walking in the foothills getting soaked by the perpetual mist and rain (this is the wettest part of Turkey), so the warm, gooey fondue could not have been more perfect for our meal that night.  Mehmet cooked it for us on a wood-burning stove in his little patch of paradise on the mountainside.  So the power cut didn’t deter us - we just needed to walk back through the wood to the car to retrieve our torch.  We felt very self-sufficient.



Culinary Anthropologist