Another longoverdue post…. I compared a wide range of Turkish olive oils in this article and promised to write about the olive oil at Eataly (a high-end food Italian market chain, which are currently operating in the US, Japan, Dubai, and Istanbul, and KOREA!) Doesn’t the list say something? Perhaps, only to my sarcastic eye… China will soon follow, I reckon. A guy from Mr.O’s Korean class is a chef at Eataly and he’ll be transferred to a Korean branch in 2 weeks for preparation but it’s still top secret so don’t tell anyone. He told another secret that Jamie Oliver Restaurant there has gone bankrupt. I’m not a fan of chain stores and didn’t even give this place a second of my thoughts, dismissing it as a posh commercial place, where well-off-expats and god-knows-how-they-make-money local folks shot, but it turned out it wasn’t simply that. Having been there on several occasions – not as often as I’d like to because I live so far away! So when I go there, I get three bottles of the BEST olive oil and prosciutto, and bread when I’m in the ultra foodie mood, by which I mean that I try not to buy imported products if I can find locally produced substitutes, otherwise I bring stuff from overseas.
The only reason I go there – I don’t go to Macro Centre or Namli Gourme because they are a ripoff – is because it actually has high quality products and because of their philosophy of making products using local ingredients. Especially the mozzarella and prosciutto are to die for and I see people making mozzarella right in front of you!
The pork products are from Italy but very high quality, not mediocre jambon that is sold in many city gourmet stores, and most of all, they are cheaper! If you’re living in a city that has good Italian delicatessens and pizzerias, you would go, “Why is she going on and on about Eataly?” but I feel very grateful for its existence. So for now, Eataly is a haven for my foodie thirst until more quality Italian restaurants open in Istanbul. It really amazes me why Italian restaurants are so expensive when Italian restaurants are one of the cheapest eateries. Two people would grab a $10 pizza and $10 BYO wine for a cheap and cheerful dinner and get merry anywhere in Sydney! Of course, I know the reason, HIGH TAX on foreign goods and strict rules on imported foods. Korean noodles aren’t allowed because the wheat used is from America and soy products aren’t allowed in because of the GMO scare. I hear “You should be happy with yogurt, salty white cheese, lemon and bread. What else do you need to eat?
The only problem I find with this place is that you can’t drink wines bought from their shelves, which doesn’t make sense. I pressed the poor waiters to explain to me “WHY isn’t it allowed?” just to hear the repeated “No, you can’t.” I was particularly disappointed and annoyed because I was with clients who wanted to shout one of the most expensive Amarone wine, worth over €120, but we weren’t allowed, therefore I lost my chance to taste it. I found out later through Mr.O’s classmate that when it was first opened, it was allowed to shop and drink there but they changed the policy after some issues with some Turkish customers who buy, drink and refuse to pay – surprise, surprise!
Anyway, this is the olive oil I’ve been using, which is probably the fruitiest extra olive oil you can find in Turkey. I didn’t look at the Italian olive oil shelves; if you look, you’re tempted so… I’m pretty happy with Olivurla, early harvest(erken hasat) and cold press(soğuk sıkım). With the price of 29TL, compared to 26TL for Nar at Namli Gourmet, I wonder why one isn’t buying more of Olivurla’s products.
There isn’t any other equivalent to this olive oil out there as far as I’ve tasted. So folks, go buy the olive oil from this small producer and don’t let it lose its space to other competitor olive oils. The reason I’m saying this because I saw their products had been pushed to a lower shelf on my last visit. I hope Olivurla stays, though I can order online.
Oh, what a lovely treat! The 3o+month aged prosciutto….oh, mamma mia…. this prosciutto has converted some Turkish people who refuse to eat jambon because of the smell. I’ve actually experienced some unpleasant odor in some ham from other gourmet stores but this one is bonza! That’s why what you eat and how you eat matters. The photos were taken from my previous house, which no longer exists….because of the construction craze going on in Istanbul due to greedy property owners who want to make more units and squeeze people into tiny shoe boxes!
If you’ve read the full article, you must be a foodie. So Please check the event page for my ‘Cheese Gourmand‘ event.