This morning we returned to the Saturday Şişli Organik Pazarı in Bomonti for the first time in a while, and I was pleased to see that it was bustling with life. Turkey is fortunate to have such a great climate for produce, and the colors of the fruit and vegetables here were like something from a Cézanne painting. Perhaps it’s been a long while since I was last here, but it seems to me that there are more producers than before. The atmosphere was great, lots of people, families, and friends we hadn’t seen in a while. There’s wasn’t only food, either, there was everything from cosmetics, to children’s toys and textiles, all 100% certified organic. There was even some homegrown talent providing live music, though I’m not sure whether or not you can certify that organic or not.
But let’s be honest, we were there for the food, which I’m a little obsessed with lately. Delicious, fresh, crisp Turkish produce. Growing up in a cold climate, it used to be hard to appreciate fruits and vegetables. By the time they were transported to you, the taste, and probably a considerable amount of nutrition had vanished. That’s not the case here in Turkey where you enjoy food very quickly after it’s been harvested, bursting with flavor. It’s a real pleasure to see Sofia capering around through the stalls, dancing to the music and munching on the food. She and Şevin were even interviewed by Star TV, while I tried to keep my mug off-camera.
There are also several stands providing hot food, my favorite of which is gözleme. These are the ultimate country roadside food, almost always prepared by someone’s teyze (aunt) just like the one above. These thinly rolled turnovers are stuffed with cheese, herbs, spinach, potato, minced meat—you take your pick— and then thrown on a black concave oiled skillet. They are delicious, and like just about everything else that’s edible in this country, go incredibly well with a piping hot çay (tea). Believe me, it’s hard to stop at just one.