Turkish Food Culture

Traditional Turkish Beverages

Anyone who is a little familiar with Turkish culture knows that tea is an essential part of our everyday lives. Tea and Turkey cannot be thought of separately and sharing tea is deeply rooted custom in Turkey. in Turkey each person consumes an average of more than 3 kilograms of tea every year. The first thing to do in the morning is to brew tea for breakfast and continue to drink during the day. Social life revolves around sitting and having tea whether we are at work, cafe or visiting friends.

Coffee is another important drink which has always been one of the keystones shaping Turkish culture and traditions. Its importance comes from the fact that it accompanies us through our countless moments and moods in life with its delicious taste and aroma. There is a proverb in Turkish which goes like ‘’A cup of coffee commits one 40 years of friendship ‘’ This shows the deep symbolic significance of coffee in the lives of Turkish people. To experience this, walk into traditional coffee shop and see friends at different tables having animated conversations for long ours not the least bit bored.

Yet the traditional drinks are not limited to coffee and tea. Turkey offers many wonderful traditional drinks who want to move beyond coffee and tea. One of them is Sahlep, which a very nutritious hot, winter drink. Sahlep is made from roots of several types of wild orchid trees which grow in India, Turkey, Greece and Middle east. The creamy drink prepared with milk and sahlep powder sprinkled with cinnamon. You can only find this delicious drink in winter and it is the best remedy for cold and coughs.

Sherbet is a cold, sweet drink made with fruits, spices and flower petals sweetened with sugar or honey. Served cold, sherbets are often made of rose, tamarind, lemon, orange, cherry, plums, mint and hibiscus. Sherbet was a very popular drink during the ottoman empire enjoyed by all members of the society for its cooling and healing effects. This drink arrived into Italian cuisine as sorbet (sorbetto) over the course of Venetian and Ottoman relations.

Boza is traditionally sold in street by wandering street sellers on a cold winter night. This is a very thick fermented drink made of millet or other grains and enjoyed with a dash of cinnamons and a handful of chickpeas. The history of boza would not be complete without mentioning of Vefa Bozacısı, an Albanian family run store near Süleymaniye Mosque that was opened in 1876. It is the best place to try this interesting drink.

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