Breakfast in Anatolia

Breakfast is one of C and A's favourite times of the day; be it weekday porridge (stay tuned for an upcoming post on A's Guide to Perfect Porridge) or more indulgent weekend alternatives, both love taking time to enjoy good food in the mornings.

During our recent trip to Turkey, one of our culinary highlights became the breakfasts; travelling through remote Eastern Turkey in particular meant that the only way to go for the first meal of the day was traditional Turkish - something which we were both more than happy to embrace. So enamoured are we with the Turkish way of eating breakfast now upon our return, in fact, that we thought it deserves its own post; and so here's our ultimate guide to breakfast, the Anatolian way.

Traditional Turkish breakfast outside our Ottoman mansion hotel in Safranbolu

Turkish breakfasts are beautiful in their simplicity; bearing similarities to breakfasts in other Middle Eastern countries (so A, who has more widely travelled there, testifies), it's both light enough to be enjoyable in hot weather, and substantial enough to be filling.

Essentially lots of small plates of food that are then eaten together mezze-style, Turkish breakfasts generally consist of a selection of the following: tomatoes (the freshest and best you'll have ever tasted), cucumber, black olives, eggs (usually boiled, but sometimes served in an omelette-type form called menemen), two types of cheese (beyaz peynir resembles feta, the other, called kashar, is similar to haloumi) and bread. Two types of bread are usually served as well; the first being something like a shorter, fatter French baguette, and the other - Simit - resembles a bagel, but with a bigger hole in the middle and sesame seeds on top.

A bagel, but not as we know it...
These are the essentials that seem to constitute even the most basic of Turkish breakfasts, although fancier breakfasts served in hotels and restaurants will more than likely also include a variety of jams and spreads, bowls of nuts and various other types of cheese as well.

This was true of what was undoubtedly the best breakfast we had while in Turkey, which we enjoyed in an Ottoman mansion in Safranbolu, a beautifully preserved historic town which enjoys UNESCO World Heritage Site status. With authentic cobbled streets, grape vines hanging overhead and an array of little interesting sites around town, it's worth taking the time to visit Safranbolu if you're in that part of Turkey - and, with many of the historic Ottoman houses now converted into hotels, it makes for an ideal romantic destination for a night or two.

Some of the Turkish breakfast spread
Our breakfast in Safranbolu was unbelievably good; enjoyed on the terrace outside the Ottoman house, we were presented with plates and plates of great food that kept coming - every time we'd finish one dish, three more would be presented to us, with a smile. Eventually beaten by the sheer amount of food on offer, we finally admitted defeat and enjoyed a few cups of Turkish black tea in the sunshine before starting our day. Bliss.

Turkish tea to start the day


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