Exploring Turkish Cuisine
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New Year, New City, New Life of an Oenophile

I hope everyone had a lovely new year celebration. As you know, 2017 didn’t start well in Istanbul and there’s a palpable sense of confusion and dismay. I had a strange feeling while watching the news from another city, sadness and relief. One day before the incident, we moved, moved permanently from Istanbul, which stole my heart 5 years ago. “Istanbul must be wonderful if it’d kept you with itchy feet for that long.” People would say as I have a history of changing a country every 4 years. Yes, Istanbul WAS and still IS a wonderful place to live.


memories from the first year

But it was time to move on for my life long dream, the dream to live in a city where fresh produce and good wine is abundant along with history. Mr.O and I had talked about moving to his hometown when we start a family because we believe that the best education for kids is nature. But it came earlier and suddenly so I didn’t even had the time to inform all of my friends about our move and some of them will learn it through this post!


I wouldn’t call our move a sea change since Canakkale is still a city but without car horns and traffic and where everything is reachable by foot. The best attraction to this city for me is the vineyards, hooray! Some of the best Turkish wineries are located along the Dardanelles and the fame of this area in ancient times is well documented including the account of  the great king of Persia,  a gourmet and wine aficionado, Xerxes, who threw in banquets with bread from Manisa, meat from Soke, and wine from Lapseki (MIL’s hometown!).


I am so excited about living in the proximity to vineyards and also the unknown future this move will bring. A sign of good luck was already shown on the day of moving as it snowed – a Korean superstition! In fact, it snowed so much that we barely made it to Canakkale before dinner time but the movers of course couldn’t make it through the snowy roads and arrived only the next evening.

So you can imagine how chaotic it might have been with unpacking and organising the house but that didn’t stop me from celebrating the new year’s eve with good food and wine. Amid scattered boxes, I cleaned, dressed and stuffed the wild turkey, which was delivered from a nearby village that morning. I threw the bird into the oven and continued the unpacking while basting it with its dripping occasionally.

1 hour, 2 hours, 4 hours passed…. it looked incredibly fall-off-the-bone tender and succulent. The kitchen was mostly sorted but the living room wasn’t ready for a feast so we drove down to parents’ with the turkey and a bottle of wine to go with it.

The turkey was so delicious that even MIL, who is on a constant weight watch, enjoyed it down to crispy skin and got the second serving right into the mid night. She loved the flavours of mandarin, turmeric, and all the herbs, and praised it over the phone to her friends who called for a happy new year. The secret was to rub a butter and garlic mix under the skin, which kept the meat moist.

The wine chosen randomly out of the wine boxes happened to be Passomaggio 2013 by Santa Anastasia. It had a lovely bouquet of forest fruits and cherries following through some spice notes and smooth tannins. Just perfect for the wild turkey since it’s biodynamic.

Speaking of wine, I have another exciting news. En primeur of our homemade wine!

I had anticipated the tasting of our very first batch for months and finally sniffed and sipped it nervously, and the result was….a happy smile with ‘wow’. It turned out well and I’ll no longer have to bother myself searching for table wine, haha. It was made with Cab Sauv. and the grapes were in excellent condition due to the low rainfall last year. Hand-picked, wild yeast, no added sulfites, no barrel ageing… it’s a pure work of nature. Good job, FIL! Encouraged by this result, FIL and I are planning to make a blend of Cab Sauv and Karasakiz (Turkish indigenous grape) this year. We’ll get a new press and perhaps age in a barrel if we can hunt down a used barrel.

Ok, ok, so let me answer the utmost question you probably ask.  What will happen with ‘Eat with Me’ events? Don’t worry! I will be right up whenever there is a call. It’s only a 5 hour pleasant drive after all! Plus, Mr.O will stay in Istanbul for a year or so. What?! Yes, we will be a weekend couple for a while unfortunately but it’s an exciting new experience for us and we think and hope that we will manage it fine as long as he’s still able to feel me through my food.


I packed a weekly supply of food for him to get through the week and he seems to be enjoying ‘being his own chef’ for a change every evening. This was a quick easy meal pack but I will cook something more elaborate and post a recipe! I wonder if this blog is going to be about ‘easy dinner pack’ ideas this year…hmm. Fun, all the same.

I already have delicious new recipes to share so cheers to happy and delicious life for all my readers and a new chapter of my food and wine adventure!!

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