Gözleme: A Very Turkish Lunch

What with two pretty culture-heavy trips to Turkey in two consecutive years, C's starting to become quite experienced when it comes to Turkish cuisine. While she can't pretend to be any great expert yet, she at least knows a good kebap when she sees one, can tell a patlican from a pide and has enough Turkish to order food and drink when out.

On both trips to Turkey, one of C's favourite things to have for a light meal has been gözleme, a wonderful, salty, doughy (and probably very unhealthy) savoury dish, topped with whichever filling you so desire and folded over so the insides are oozing out between the dough. After all, apparently 'goz' in Turkish means compartment, so it follows really.

You've just goz to try them

During the most recent trip, up in the mountains near the Aegean coast C stumbled across an Ottoman-inspired eatery, serving up excellent gözleme which were being cooked by a group of older women with headscarves, lined faces and clearly very skilled hands by the side of the cafe. Sitting around a large furnace - a traditional saç griddle (pretty unbearable in August, one would imagine), the women were rolling and cutting and rolling and slapping the dough until it turned into delicious gözleme.

A dough-licious lunch

Without a moment's hesitation C took a seat. Having stayed in Ottoman places before in the eastern part of Turkey, she knew the custom, and slipped her shoes off at the entrance to the place before padding over the wooden floors and the Turkish carpets and cosying into one of the cushioned seats on the ground around a low table. This is, and will always be, C's preferred way of dining: there's something utterly relaxing about dining on the floor, cross-legged, surrounded by cushions.

Ottoman-inspired interiors
As mentioned, gozleme comes with all sorts of fillings - meats, vegetables, mushrooms, potatoes and so on - but C went for her old favourite, the Turkish beyaz peynir cheese, a salty white variety made from unpasteurised sheep's milk and quite similar to Greek feta cheese. Melted inside the gozleme, she also added in some spinach for good measure. Just thinking about it is making her hungry...

A slice of heaven
To drink, she went for her old favourite, the Turkish yoghurt drink Ayran. Delicious, thick and frothy, she was also pretty amused to see it turn up in a kind of clay cup, which provided great amusement for drinking out of. The cafe was, though, the kind of place that begged for its guests to sit, drink tea and play chess or cards to while away the afternoon: which is exactly what C did...

Interesting clay cup with obligatory Ayran...


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