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Turkish Food

6/20/2010

Desserts and Drinks

Desserts

Mention Turkish desserts and you’re probably thinking of Turkish Delight and Baklava. Don’t be afraid, you can admit it! Just don’t be fooled into thinking that these are routinely eaten by the Turkish every night after their evening meal. Oh no. That would be too simple. Just as the Turkish have a love of variety in their main meals, so they also do in their desserts! 

That said, by far the most common dessert is fruit; exactly which fruit depends on the season. Strawberries start in spring along with cherries and apricots; peaches, watermelons and melon is a staple of the summer, grapes ripen in late summer and oranges and bananas take their place as the winter fruit. The fruit is fresh in spring and summer, but may be made into jams, dried or used as compotes later in the year.  

Milk desserts – guilt-free puddings made of starch and rice flower, originally without eggs or butter – are another great addition to the Turkish dessert range and are well worth trying if you get the chance. 

For the curious among you, Baklava – a rich, sweet pastry filled with chopped nuts and sweetened with syrup or honey – is usually eaten with coffee, as a snack or after a kebab meal, as opposed to after the evening meal. 

 

Drinks

Tea and coffee are very important in Turkey. Tea is drunk throughout the day, coffee traditionally after a meal. Both are reasons to get together; they are social occasions. 

The Turkish gave coffee to the Europeans and it is worth trying. A word of warning, however – sip the coffee carefully so you do not drink the grains and do not expect an instant caffeine hit. The coffee is thick, but not strong. 

In contrast, Turkish tea can be very strong. Brewed over boiling water, in two stacked kettles, it is served in small clear glasses to show off the color and because it is too strong to drink in large cups. The Turkish traditionally drink their tea without milk but may take sugar.

Turkish tea is more popular than coffee, particularly among the younger generations. Everything stops for tea. Offering tea or coffee is considered a sign of hospitality.

 

More:

Simple Turkish for restaurants

Simple Turkish for shops

Column: Observations on Turkish culture and etiquette


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