Celebrating Turkish cuisine at food fests in Istanbul and İzmir

Celebrating Turkish cuisine at food fests in Istanbul and İzmir фото

It is time to celebrate the long history of Turkish cuisine with a number of events focusing on the gastronomy and culinary arts of these fertile lands. Here are some festivals that will make your belly happy:

The ninth annual "Restaurant Week," a meeting of gastronomic-centered minds in prestigious and historical venues around town, descends upon Istanbul in the second week of October. Throughout the week and beyond, many of Istanbul's best restaurants will be preparing special tasting menus for affordable prices that will be heavily focused on showcasing Turkish cuisine. In addition to a full-week of catered breakfast, lunch and dinner menus at select restaurants around town, there will also be talks, tastings and cooking classes.

The idea of "Restaurant Week," from Oct. 15 to Oct. 31, is something like this: Approximately 100 restaurants will be serving special tasting menus for an exclusive price, as well as specially-catered menus in line with the theme of Turkish cuisine for breakfast lunch and dinner.

There will also be a number of talks and workshops by leading figures in gastronomy. For example chef and cookbook author Jale Balcı, who specializes in Antakya cuisine, will be giving a workshop. Historian Saffet Emre Tonguç will be discussing the migratory route of coffee and Moche Basson, owner and chef of the famous Jerusalem-based restaurant Eucalyptus will be sharing his own culinary journey. Greek chef Ari Vezene will also be discussing the shared flavors between the two neighbors.

There will also be two short-length documentaries screened at this one-day event. "Turkish Way" is a film depicting the Roca brothers, who own the three-Michelin-starred Spanish restaurant El Celler De Can Roca on their discovery of the country's cuisine, which they use as culinary inspiration to create their own Turkish-influenced dishes.

"A Fading Language, a Fading Cuisine," will also be screened, it is a documentary that spotlights the Ladino language spoken by Turkey's Sephardic Jews and their cuisine, both of which nowadays are almost extinct.