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Turkish Delights, Mezzes and Spices

Turkish Delights

"Healthier" Turkish Delights with no sugar added


For those with a sweet tooth, Turkish Delights are a gift from heaven. Also known as Lokum in Arabic, Turkish Delight bites are made of a cornstarch gel that is naturally sweetened with various combinations of fruits and/or nuts or coconut, while the rolls are very sweet and are wrapped in a similar gel exterior, coated in nuts or coconut and filled with a mix of nuts and fruits or with a decadent chocolate or nut butter. The texture is soft and chewy with a slight crunch if you try one covered in nuts. We felt like kids in a candy store looking around the colorful displays and had to exercise extreme discipline not to sample each variety.


L-R: Our take-home box of Turkish Delights; Rolls filled with fruit/nut/chocolate; Fruit bites covered in nuts or coconut


Mezzes

Take out from our favorite mezze restaurant in Gocek, Turkiye


Mezzes, on the other hand, are more savory and are somewhat equivalent to tapas. There are a variety of mezzes, including dips like hummus, pesto feta dip, yogurt-based dips with veggies such cucumbers or eggplants and other shareable dishes to share such as grape leaves filled with meat or rice and fruit, fava beans in tomato sauce, marinated sea bass (like ceviche) and grilled/marinated veggies. It is commonly served with the most amazing home-made Turkish bread, such as a puffed up lavash, or a hearty dark, grainy bread. We tried a couple of desserts as well, which are shown below and are pastry-based with nuts and honey and served with Turkish ice cream, which is very thick and almost chewy in texture but guilt-free since it's not very sweet compared to the US version.


L-R: Mezze dishes-grape leaves, fava beans, hummus, marinated sea bass, roasted broccoli, roasted marinated peppers, yogurt dip; 2 types of dessert pastries topped with pistachios, one with cream filling, both with side of Turkish ice cream; Lavash


Spices

Didim, Turkiye Farmer's Market with spices, dried fruit and Turkish Delight

We found Turkish cuisine to be very tasty and healthy, thanks to their generous potpourri of spices used in each dish. The flavors are very complex and not just your basic salt and pepper preparation. At home, in their everyday cooking, the Turks typically use an amalgamation of spices such as coriander spices, cumin, black cumin and saffron mixed together in their dishes. Many spices are also used as condiments such as chili, mint and sumac. We enjoyed going to fresh farmer's markets to see all of the colorful spices on full display. The most popular spices are: Red pepper flakes, black pepper, thyme, mint, cumin, sumac, bay leaf, cinnamon, rosemary, and clove.


Elegant display of spices and teas at a store in Gocek




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