Just over a month ago, I had travelled from Yorkshire > London > Amsterdam > Paris > London by train for various work commitments, then, getting up at 0300 embarked on an 11 hour trip to Turkey. All by cattle class. If anyone is seething with envy – please don’t. Economy travel is not what it is all cracked up to be. This was my very first (and far from last) visit to Turkey. Ever the adventurer, Marlini wanted to pack in Istanbul and Cappadocia – however I was simply too worn out and we compromised on 4 days in Cappadocia, and what an experience.
It all started off with arriving at the fantastic Aya Kapadokya boutique hotel in Ürgüp – Nevşehir recently renovated by the truly delightful owners Begüm and Emre. We could not have asked for better. To call it a renovation is a complete injustice – a painstaking labour of love took a derelict pile of rubble that was rebuilt and transformed (using sweat and tears) and extended the original building to create some fabulously unique living spaces (our room was the Chapel Suite cave) adorned with superb fixtures and features. If the cave man had it this good, I do not think they would ever have left!
Not only was the setting delightful, it also introduced us to some fantastic local and regional ingredients. Breakfast really was the culinary highlight of our day and I am so relieved that we spent much of our time here hiking and trying to burn off some of some of indulgent starts to the day. I mean with such a diverse range of breads, cheese, fruit, olives (five different varieties at my last count) – how could one not want to try and get a small taste of them all?
On our first morning we were kindly dropped off at the Saturday market in Ürgüp. Our simply wrong and inaccurate assumption of what was locally produced in Turkey was corrected…. and then some. The range of fresh and succulent fruit alone was incredible: we bought peaches, nectarines, sweet green figs – seriously the best we had ever tasted. Then there were the tomatoes, aubergine and fresh herbs galore, Turkish Olive Oil (which can be incredible by the way), herbs, spices. We walked away with only a few ingredients to take back to the UK – locally made pomegranate molasses, Sumac and Pul Biber chilli Flakes – if the opportunity arose I would gladly have taken half the market back with me as we seemingly did in Ortegia Sicily over two years ago.