The spice market in Istanbul, is a major stop in any guidebook or tour. My heart hit the floor when I crossed the threshold of the ancient building that housed equally ancient blends of spices. I felt like i was thrown back in time and into a dream right in the milddle of the hustle and bustle of the spice trade days. Mounds and mountains of exotic powders, herbs, spices, and turkish delights overwhelmed my senses. It was a thousand times better than being a kid in a candy store: I was a chef in a spice heaven.
I picked up some Turkish Saffron, cinnamon, sweet and hot paprikas, coriander, garam masala, tri color pepper, and some of the most delicious pistachios I’ve ever sampled.
When we arrived in Bodrum, Turkey, it was a bit of a hike to the local market. Theirs was a rustic farmers and artisans market. Again, I was overwhelmed by the abundance of gorgeous, fragrant spices on display. I tried tons of local cheeses, chilis, meats, and produce I’d never seen before. I chose some sweet dried whole cherry tomatoes, and local hazelnuts as souvenirs.
One of the vendors was making a traditional Turkish style flatbread crepe stuffed with meat and turkish feta. I took a lesson from her, and later I teamed up with the executive chef on our ship to create some happy hour appetizers with our haul from the market. Needless to say, the local fare was a hit!
The Day’s Bounty… -Bodrum