Exploring Turkish Cuisine
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Hailstorm, goatskin cheese… Life unexpected

Yesterday afternoon when I got out of the house for a little walk, the sky was roaring with thunders. I pushed on disregarding the sound but it got louder and louder, and at the last big strike, which seemed like a serious warning, I headed back home. I don’t mind the rain, really, sometimes it feels wonderful and free, getting drenched in the pouring rain, feeling the clothes sticking to the skin. But I was so worried about my new phone, precisely my first-ever SMARTphone, in a fabric grocery bag I was carrying that I had to run home but still couldn’t escape getting soaking wet. It’d been a long time I got wet like that by rain as Istanbul is pretty dry and I had managed without an umbrella all this time but this year the weather seems unpredictable all around the world.

After showering and changing clothes, I sat down at the desk to finalise my trip to Amsterdam just to jerk my head toward the window at a noise, the sound that instantly give me a flashback to the scene where frogs were raining and falling onto car roofs as in the film, Magnolia. It was that loud…. oh, it was a hailstorm!!! I grabbed my NEW phone and took photos and videos, and was able to edit and post them on the internet on the spot. Wow, what a technology! This is the very photo taken with my new phone. Some people even posted photos of hurricane, hurricane in Istanbul! (news&video)


I’ve always had a love hate relationship with technology but I’m trying to see more positive sides of technology these days and tame it. The reason I had finally decided to get myself a smartphone is none other than my twin nephews. Living away from family can free you from the customs and expectations that might be imposed on you in your home country, but it also cuts you off from the connections you have back home. It hits closer to the heart these days realising that I don’t have much to share with my fast growing nephews, as a so-called aunt – the word still sounding awkward to me. They know that an aunt#1 out of 3 exists but they haven’t spent enough time with me to feel attached to me. Especially, the time difference and different work life are obstacles for talking to them on weekdays but now I can call them up on a free call app and send photos in real time, and what not. The other day my sister sent me a photo of the twin boys playing naked in a Korean bathhouse and I laughed so much that I almost cried.

I believe that people can be born in a wrong country, making them great candidates for world wanderers and thinkers. My mind constantly observes the surroundings and analyse them, and on top of that, I speak 3 to 4 languages on a daily basis, tiring out my brain even more. My brain needs a break…. so I bought a flight to Amsterdam at the moment of the inner bubble inflating or perhaps got hit by lightning. But Why Amsterdam? Well, why not? I can go anywhere at any time and it’s the biggest perk of living in Istanbul for me. Yeah!

Another benefit? Probably the fresh fruit and hidden surprises. I’ve been away from the computer for a while since my laptop finally decided to take the overdue retirement. Fair enough. It’s been with me all those travels for 4 years. So now I have a new phone AND a new laptop, which was exciting and scaring me at the same time. People don’t like changes, do they? I’m slowly getting used to the new machine now but it will take some time, and that’s one of the reasons I’ve been absent from my blog. I was meaning to post this before my weekend getaway but well, things just happen randomly, leaving a void here and there.

I can’t say enough about how lucky I am to be in a country abundant of fresh fruit. Here, you never need to buy cartons of fruit juice since it’s so easy and cheap to buy fresh fruit from local grocers. The juice I’ve been enjoying the most lately is the grapefruit and it’s super refreshing with mineral water.

Another thing I’ve been indulging in proudly is the cheese called ‘Divle Obruk Tulum‘, which I’d like to introduce and encourage you to try, if you haven’t yet. As I’m obsessed with cheeses that have unique and delightful flavours, I’ve been looking everywhere to find substitutes for French cheese as I can’t keep smuggling it. I discovered this special cheese in the mission of finding the disappearing original Turkish blue cheese (küflü peynir – moldy cheese) for a senior expat cheese lover. I visited almost all cheese shops and there I found it in the most unsuspected place, right next to my regular cheese shop. I came to the sight of these interesting looking aged cheeses in goatskin castings and boom!, I absolutely loved it. This is it, the cure for my French cheese craving! I’d seen this type before but the look of hairy skin was a bit of turn-off even for my adventurous palate and honestly, my presumption about Turkish cheese had stopped me from trying various cheeses. Later I came across this article about the French and Dutch going to the city where this cheese is made just to buy cheese so I’ll share it with you. I’m imagining the smell inside the cave right now. Hmm….

The one covered in a cling film is the küflü blue cheese I was after and I tried it with anticipation, and wow, it was nothing like the commercial wannabe Roquefort cheese sold in other stores. My impression on this cheese was that it had the texture and pungency of Stilton but made with sheep milk and I could imagine myself enjoying it with wine. While there, I also tried various cheeses one by one with the help of the friendly owner, who was as passionate as me about cheese and there I found the best Kars eski kaşar (right in the photo) and Trakya eski kaşar lokumlu (left), both of which I’ve been buying every week. To them, I must seem very entertaining; a tiny Asian girl crazily talking about ‘stinky’ cheese in Turkish.

tulum (2)

I thought this cheese deserved extra attention and I did my usual play with food, which I do when I get sick of staring into the computer screen. So let’s enjoy the cheese show together! Yeah, does the goat hair scare you off? Don’t let it fool you. Good food is for a daring heart. Stop eating ‘Izmir Tulum’, which isn’t real tulum! There is a rumor that this tulum is a precursor to French roquefort, but I don’t have proof. In this land, so many things originated, travelled and mixed, making it so difficult to verify any historical sources.

tulum (4)

There is also another type ripened in a goatskin bag, called Erzincan Tulum, in the further eastern Anatolia, which seems to be better known among tourists but it’s too salty and hard. This is from Divle, which is south central  and near the famous spiritual town, Konya, which happens to be the town of the blue cheese mentioned above. Now I’m piecing together the information I’ve found about the origins of world cheeses, which is quite interesting, only to me.

tulum (1)

The next post is going to be about my weekend getaway to Amsterdam! Are you excited? What do you think I ate there? Dutch cocoa? Dutch pancake? What else? See you soon then with more stories.

This entry was posted in: Exploring Turkish Cuisine


Hello, I'm Namie and I like exploring different cuisines and creating something that is delicious and healthy at the same time. I'm also a certified wine lover and interested in discovering exciting new wines. For a wine and food event, please feel free to contact me. ewmistanbul@gmail.com


    • I enjoyed Amsterdam very much and I’m still enjoying the old Amsterdam cheese, which tastes great. Wow! But the goatskin cheese is also a must when you ever come this way. I don’t think they export it because of the EU regulations. What a pity!


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