A small (or almost) selection of all the delicacies that make the typical Turkish breakfast
This story is in fact two stories in one. They both take place on the banks of the Bosporus, in Istanbul. They appear to have little in common, but this is not true. What joins them is an ancient and across-the-board rite, capable of cancelling the differences between the sparkling Ottoman palaces and the more popular and domestic Turkish everyday life, uniting the Turkish people more than (or almost as much) as what the legendary president Mustafa Kemal Atatürk did. The statement could sound as blasphemous, if we weren’t talking of breakfast. Turkish breakfast, that is. There’s no doubt even Atatürk would agree.
A historical photo of Çırağan Palace and, below, the fire that destroyed it in 1910
The current Çırağan Palace, now an extra luxury hotel of the Kempinski group
A royal breakfast at Kempinski
Çay, the Turkish tea
The surprise of surprises is the perfect match between the sumptuous breakfast served at Kempinski and the twin meal that all families, no matter the background, will have too. The basic food: olives, cucumbers, tomato «and white cheese (beyaz peynir), similar to feta, but don’t try to make this comparison with a Turkish person, or they would find it offensive». Indeed, because not only the table reveals a large quantity of similes with the Mediterranean diet, but also a special match with some food that is universally associated to the Greek peninsula. Instead: «People say Greek yogurt, but who knows that yoğurt is a Turkish word?». And who knows that among the bright red dishes that lighten up Turkish cuisine there’s karnıyarak, that is to say a cult dish in south Italy too, the peel of the aubergines, fried and stuffed [but fry carefully, remember the fire at Kempinski]?
Going back to breakfast: «Turkish men, usually not accustomed to the kitchen, are usually capable of preparing some magnificent menemen, which on the Black Sea they serve with a special texture, a mix in which eggs, tomatoes, onions and peppers become a cream. Another dish in which eggs have a main role, is sucuklu yumurta, a sort of frittata with a spicy salami made with beef, of course».
Ali Onal and Roberta D’Aversa
Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso
Reviews, recommendations and trends from the four corners of the planet, signed by all the authors of Identità Golose
A journalist by profession, curious by vocation, she applies her attitude to investigative reports and food features. She's author for Repubblica, Gambero Rosso, Dispensa
American breakfast served in the room at the Four Seasons in Florence. Curated by Vito Mollica
Buongiorno Da Vittorio once everything is served on the table