Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day. Whenever I go to Turkey, I get so excited to have the Turkish breakfasts. The first time I had it, I couldn't believe that you would have cheeses, cucumbers and tomatoes for breakfast!? But now I just love the huge array of little dishes that they present you with, first thing in the morning!
'Kahvalti' is the word for breakfast, which can be translated as 'kahve–altı' meaning 'under-coffee', which basically means 'the food you eat before drinking coffee'. When it comes to breakfasts, the Turkish would usually drink tea instead of coffee together with their meal. But after a long Turkish breakfast, it should end with a well made Turkish coffee.
Depending on the different regions, different things may be added in, but a normal Turkish breakfast usually consists of:
* fresh white bread
* white cheese (similar to feta)
* old cheese
* black and/or green olives
* an omelette or boiled eggs
* sliced tomatoes and/or cucumbers
Together with the jam, you usually also find 'tahin pekmez' which is a breakfast spread, made of tahini and grape molasses. Together with the bread 'simit' is usually served, which is Turkish sesame bread rings.
The honey is often served with 'kaymak', which is Turkish clotted cream and jokingly referred to as 'Turkish crack' as it is seriously addictive!
Another delicious dish you can have is 'sucuklu yumurta'. Sucuk is dried sausage made of ground beef with garlic and a variety of spices. The sucuk is cooked in a pan with eggs and tastes amazing. Otherwise you can also go for the 'menemen', which is Turkish-style scrambled eggs with tomatoes, onions, and chilies.
Some also serve börek' which is thin sheets of dough filled with cheese, minced meat and/or vegetables, wrapped and baked or cooked.
As much as I wanted my Turkish breakfast, part of me was dreading how the kids would be sitting through a long breakfast. But they actually enjoyed tasting all the different dishes. Gaja tried all the different cheeses, but in the end decided that the sucuklu yumurta was her favourite, although she mostly just ate the egg part and not the sucuk - maybe next time! Soraya on the other hand gobbled down a whole plate of menemen. Something I will definitely be making at home in the near future!
One place I need to go to is a city called Van in Eastern Turkey. Apparently they have a whole street dedicated to breakfast, called 'Kahvalti Caddesi, meaning 'breakfast street'. The city is lined with single purpose kahvalti salonu (breakfast salons), with window displays of olives, cheeses, honeycomb, butter, kaymak,…… my idea of heaven!
After having a proper breakfast, you are ready to tackle the day! I have to say, Turkish breakfasts are one of my favourites!