In a celebration of the centenary of the republic of Türkiye, Turkish Ambassador, H.E. Niyazi Evren Akyol and Mme. Indri P. Akyol hosted a traditional breakfast feast.
The Republic of Türkiye is a country located at the crossroads of Europe and Asia with coasts lining the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas. At present, tourism rates in the country are rising, and visitors from the Philippines at the top of that list. And it is no wonder, as the nation features sites like the ancient city of Troy to natural marvels like the mesmerizing rock formations of Cappadocia, and the white salt terraces of Pammukale. Not to mention architectural gems such as the Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, and the Blue Mosque in Istanbul.
While the country boasts a rich tapestry of history, culture, and natural beauty, the cuisine is a particular draw with its rich flavors and diverse dishes. In a celebration of the centenary of the republic of Türkiye earlier this June 2023, the Turkish Ambassador, His Excellency Niyazi Evren Akyol, and Mme. Indri P. Akyol welcomed us with the warm hospitality and friendly nature that Turkish people are known for.
A Cornucopia of Flavors
In Turkish, breakfast is known as “kahvaltı”. The day of the feast happened to be World Breakfast Day, an appropriate occasion to celebrate the traditional Turkish breakfast.
Ambassador Akyol went through the tenets of the breakfast. He noted that the spread is typically a combination of both savory and sweet flavors, which can be eaten in any order.
A certain staple lay on one of the many small plates: Cheese. There was an assortment of white cheese and cheddar varieties, each with its distinct characteristics. Nearby were dried apricots and figs piled with the crunch of walnuts to complement the soft cheeses.
Eggs were also in abundance. In this particular breakfast, we saw fried eggs with cuts of beef cooked in the mix. Although Ambassador Akyol explained a Turkish family will have eggs in a variety of forms, from hard-boiled, sunny side up, or scrambled, according to their preference.
No Turkish breakfast is complete without olives and Ambassador Akyol stressed the importance of the Mediterranean Treasure at the start of the day, saying:
“There are a few countries in the world that have olives for breakfast. The thing about these olives is that this is different from the olives on your pizza or in your martini. This is fleshier, less bitter, and it is on the saltier side.”
While olives can be taken in a single pop, there was also a range of mouthwatering bread to choose from. Bread is the staple food in Turkey, and there was an intriguing choice of grain, from the ring-shaped pastry Simit, dipped in Sesame with the consistency of a French baguette or soft bagel, as well as fluffy Pogaca buns.
It was a mix-and-match experience of both savory and sweet food choices. For a sweet touch, there were gooey honey dips and red jams. The jams could be layered for various flavor profiles, as well as fresh fruits for that healthy morning boost. There was no shortage of vegetables either, from roasted eggplant to delicious tomato and red pepper dips. While the chef was unable to hunt down traditional sausages like Sucuk (a spicy variety) and Pastirma (a pressed and processed meat), there were alternative sausages improvised into the spread.
The breakfast event at the residence of the Turkish Ambassador in the Philippines was a culinary adventure. And while it can be considered a rare culinary affair, I take solace in knowing the delight of kahvaltı can be experienced again in the Peninsula Manila. In honor of the opening of The Peninsula Istanbul, our own Peninsula hotel is hosting an “All-Things Turkish” afternoon tea set, with my favorite baklavas and that famous Turkish tea and coffee. At Escolta, early birds are invited to the Traditional Turkish morning buffet.
With so many light, healthy, small plates, and such a satisfying variety of tastes, indulging in a traditional Turkish kahvaltı is certainly an ideal way to greet the day.