On Fertile Lands: Turkaegean
There are places favoured by Mother Nature and the Aegean coast of Türkiye is one of them. Crystal-clear waters, pristine nature, secluded bays, tasty delicacies and truly hospitable people… Turkaegean welcomes you with a heritage of thousands of years.
Imagine a generous climate and a region that grows various produces and is harvestable all year long. The soil, fed by numerous streams and cultivated for thousands of years, provides tasty fruits and vegetables. With tranquil bays, turquoise waters and lush greenery, nature here rewards everyone. Turkaegean offers the cornucopia of tastes!
Türkiye stretching to the Aegean Sea know how to impress its visitors not only with cosy coastal cities but also with olive groves, vineyards, orchards and traditional small villages.
Cobblestone streets and snap-worthy coffee shops and town squares surrounded by century-year-old trees are the main features of the traditional villages on Turkaegean. In the small shady alleys of cute little towns, life starts early in the morning.
Agricultural items join the décor and picturesque scenery, and it is often complemented by cats and dogs that are loved and fed by the residents. A constant refreshing sea breeze is another key element in everyday life. Restored old stone houses and villas function as bed-and-breakfast-run boutique hotels where the breakfast turns into an experience with all freshly picked produces straight from the garden.
Made in Heaven
The generous Mother Earth ensures delicious fruits and vegetables, as the climate and soil lend themselves to growing a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. Olive groves and olive oil production are also widespread in the region. Since the cultivation of olive trees goes back thousands of years, The Aegean region is a silvery-green diamond producing 75 per cent of all olives in Türkiye, the staple of Turkish cuisine.
Turkaegean is where the sun’s rays nourish the olive groves finding their roots among millennia of shiny marble.
The fruit of the olive tree is bitter when picked and eaten directly. On the other hand, the tree is the source of much goodness that appeals to the palate as well as the eye: olives can be pickled or salted for delicious breakfasts or as meze, olive leaves make delicious and healthy olive leaf tea, dry twigs turn into objects that bring a rustic atmosphere to the table, and the olive oil is used in healing for centuries besides cooking and dressing.
Another product of the region that has been produced for thousands of years is wine. The earliest traces of viticulture in Anatolia date back to 7000 BCE. Today, Turkish vineyards produce several wine varieties with local grapes of Anatolia by using their valuable knowledge and significant experience passing through generations. With a rich wine tradition going back to antiquity, Urla has a distinctive terroir with the advantage of being on a peninsula surrounded by the sea, a fitting climate, a moist soil structure, and iodized air. Urla Vineyard Route offers delicious, high-quality, award-winning wines made of grapes with a 6,000-year-old history, peaceful vineyard walks, top-notch wineries in small and boutique establishments, and gourmet restaurants presenting unique tastes.
It is no coincidence that the most significant temple in Anatolia dedicated to Dionysus, the god of wine, is in the ancient city of Teos in İzmir, Seferihisar.
A Feast for the Tastebuds
The delightful local cuisine is based on olive oil and fresh ingredients. Known for olive oil dishes, Aegean cuisine invites you on a special dining adventure full of unique tastes. It’s time to explore this feast of amazing flavours.
The cuisine incorporates a huge range of vegetable dishes known as zeytinyağlı yemekler – dishes cooked in olive oil. Traditional food relies less on seasonings and more on tasty fresh ingredients. Therefore, Aegean cuisine provides a large variety of vegetarian and vegan food. The cuisine uses many edible herbs and vegetables that grow wild, such as nettles, mallows, chicory, mushrooms, wild asparagus, and wild samphire from the seashore. The flavours of many citrus orchards around the Bodrum area are present in some of the dishes, they balance the olive oil and brighten the flavours.
Don’t miss out on stuffed squash flowers – a seasonal classic that is limited to summertime. The flowers are picked at the right time and bitter-tasting seeds are carefully wiped away. Filled with rice and herbs such as mint, parsley and dill, and cooked in olive oil squash flowers are one of the most unusual but tastiest flavours in Turkaegean.
Delicious Green Festivals
The herbs and wild greens of Aegean cuisine are celebrated in April, every year at the Alaçatı Herb Festival. Attendants delightfully tuck into a variety of locally made dishes as part of the festival program.
The nearby district of Urla also showcases their local ingredient, the simple artichoke, and promotes the vegetable as healthy, flavoursome, traditional and pleasurable. An artichoke festival is held in Urla every year in April. Half an hour’s drive from Urla, fields around Seferihisar and the seaside town of Sığacık provide peaceful spots that bring shades of greens and blues together.
Seferihisar was also the first town to receive a Cittaslow title in Türkiye, as part of the Cittaslow movement which aims to improve the quality of life in towns by slowing down its overall pace, opposing the standardisation of towns. Alternative eco-tourism efforts support the town’s particular character and provide visitors with a wide range of authentic accommodation and refreshment options.
With so much fresh fruit and vegetables, and the pleasant weather, it is essential to have dazzling open markets. Yes, here is the next one to explore on the list: the outdoor markets where you can come across all the local products that help the local cuisine flourish. Farmers’ markets expand along a large part of the streets. It is here you can find the culmination of Aegean products grown and produced by the locals such as cheese varieties, nuts, dried figs, fresh and dried herbs, olives, olive oil, vegetables and fruits.
Some grand open-air township markets such as Tire and Ayvalık are attraction centres and municipalities offer guided tours in foreign languages to turn a town market visit into a real experience. Now, take your time to wander around, check each and every market booth to admire the colours and the shapes of the produce, let yourself be inspired by divine scents and flavours, and contemplate the sophisticated and harmonious market scenes. It’s time to have an exhilarating experience!
A Sincere Welcome
The richness of various cultures has allowed the people of this land to have genuine and unpretentious hospitality to welcome guests and even unexpected ones with open arms and to share their meals with the newcomers. As the saying goes, “A Cup of Coffee Commits One to Forty Years of Friendship”, and in Turkaegean the guests are here to become friends…
Enjoy a cup of Turkish coffee in a kahvehane, a typically local coffee-house in the small village square. Wander through the orchards to taste a juicy fruit straight from the tree. Watch the production of olive oil from the olives picked in the vast olive groves. Pick your favourite vegetables from a market booth. Take time to taste the wine made of local grape varieties to admire their combination with authentic dishes prepared with all fresh ingredients. In short, slow down to enjoy life. Join us in Turkaegean!