Towards the end of our tour along the Ilhara Valley, my friends and I started feeling hungry and, although we were approaching lunchtime and restaurant, when we stopped for a short break we couldn’t resist the temptation of sampling some traditional food.
Now, in Turkey this time something strange happened. One of my travel companions and I were vegetarian, and since we know Turkish cuisine is pretty heavily carnivore, to avoid the risk of not finding anything to eat (or the usual cheese pide) we kind of “took advantage” of every time we were faced with meat-free meals, with the result that we were constantly eating because, in the end, something without meat was always available.
So in the middle of the Ilhara Valley, my friend and I felt compelled, once again, to “protect” ourselves in case our allocated meal didn’t involve anything meatless. Along with an ever-present orange juice, at the rustic rest stop we also took a gözleme made traditional style and filled with cheese, spinach and potato, a real treat. And since the orange juice guys invited us to see how local women were making it, how could I waste the occasion of taking photos?
Gözleme is a Turkish pastry dish, and the women at the Ilhara Valley were preparing it truly the traditional way, hand-rolling the thin dough, stuffing it with its fresh ingredients, sealing it and placing it on a metal plate on possibly the most authentic wood oven I’d ever seen.
Once cooked, two little giggling girls were in charge of the last steps, brushing the warm gözleme with what I think was a mix of butter and egg white, cutting it into four pieces and throwing it on our paper plates (always giggling).
Needless to say the gözleme was delicious, and eating it on Turkish traditional carpets and cushions surrounded by tiny, cheeping baby ducks was probably what made it a memorable experience. After we had properly treated ourselves with this more than fulfilling snack, we made our way to the restaurant where, as usual, we also found a vegetarian option waiting for us.