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BEVERAGES: BEYOND THE TURKISH COFFEE AND "AYRAN"

Volumes have been written about at the Turkish coffee; its history, its significance in social life, and the ambiance of the ubiquitous coffee houses. Without some understanding of this background, its easy to be dissappointed by the tiny brew with the annoying grounds, which an uninitiated traveller (like Marh Twain) may accidentally end up chewing. A few words of caution will have to suffice for the purposes of this brief primer. First, the grounds are not to be swallowed, so sip the coffee gingerly. Secondly, don't expect a caffeinne surge with one shot of Turkish coffee; it is strong, just thick. Third, remember that is the setting and the company that matter - the coffee is just an excuse for the occasion... Tea, on the other hand, is the main source of caffeine for the Turks. It is prepared in a special way, by brewing it over boiling water and served in delicate, small, clear glasses to show the deep red color and to transmit the heat to the hand. Drinking tea is such an essential part of a working day, that any distruption of the constant supply of fresh tea is a sure way to sacrifice productivity. Once upon a time, so the story goes, a lion escaped from the Ankara Zoo and took up residence in the basement of an office building. It began devouring public servants and executives. It even ate up a few ministers of state and nobody took notice. It is said, however, that a posse was immediately formed when the lion caught and the ate the " tea man," the person responsible for the supply of fresh tea! A park without tea and coffee is inconceivable in Turkey. Thus, every spot with a view has a tea-house or a tea-garden. These places may be under a plain tree looking onto the village or town square, on top of a hill with majestic view of a valley sea, by a harbor, in a market, on a roadside with a scenic overview, by a waterfall or in the woods. Among the typical tea-gardens in Istanbul are: the Emirgan on the European side, Çamlıca on the Anatolian side of Boshoprus, the famous Pierre Loti cafe, and the tea-garden in Üsküdar. But the traditional tea-houses are beginning to disappear from the more tourist-oriented seaside locations, in fevour of "pubs" and "Biergartens". Among the beverages worth mentioning are excellent bottled fruit juices. But perhaps the most interesting drink is "boza", traditionally sold in neigborhood streets by wandering vendors on a winters night. This is a thick, fermentated drink made of wheat berries, to be enjoyed with a dash of cinnamon and a handful of roasted chick-peas. Boza can also be found year-round at the certain cafes or dessert shops. Finally, "sahlep" is a hot drink made with milk and sahlep powder. It is a good remedy for sore throads and colds, in addition to being delicious.

  • An Introduction to Turkish Cuisine 
  • Kithchen Of The Imperial Palace 
  • A Repertoire Of Food From The Great Food Places 
  • Grains: Bread To Borek 
  • Grilled Meats 
  • Four Season Vegetables 
  • "MEZE" Dishes To Accompany The Spirits 
  • SEAFOOD  
  • The Real Story Of Sweets: Beyond BAKLAVA 
  • BEVERAGES: Beyond The TURKISH COFFEE And "AYRAN" 
  • Protocol For The Culturally Correct 
  •  Food And Spirituality 
  • Contemporary Concerns: DIET AND HEALTH 
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