You may remember, way back last winter, we did a few posts about Turkish pickles and we even discovered that they’re good for you. Well, that’s always going to be a bonus for us seeing as we struggle to get through a meal without having a side dish of pickles.
Our visit to Istanbul last weekend was a very short one and as we’ve been up there a few times now, we were happy to spend the three days pottering around the Beyoğlu area as that’s where we were staying. Dodging your way up and down Istiklal Caddesi is an event in itself but off this main stretch there are warrens of side streets to lose yourself in. Whilst wondering around aimlessly on our second day, we stumbled across this most wonderful of establishments…
You can imagine our glee at seeing such a splash of colour and then realising that the splash of colour was turşu. Home made pickles of all varieties. Sometimes you see a shop and you get really excited and you just have to go in there. This was one of those shops for us.
Actually, we’re doing it an injustice, calling it a shop. This is a fine pickling emporium: Petek Turşuları (Petek Pickles). We pushed the door open and the air was filled with the aroma of pickling vinegar. The shop owner produces his wonderful pickle creations behind the counter and all around you are floor-to-ceiling shelves stacked with beautifully presented pickles, placed in their jars in such a way as to squash in the maximum amount – and to make you want to buy them. This guy quite clearly takes pride in his pickle presentations.
It wasn’t just picked vegetables on display. Also for sale is pickled fruit (you can see the grapes on the bottom row of the photo), home made salça (tomato puree and pepper puree) of varying degrees of heat and nar ekşisi. We just couldn’t leave this place empty handed. Wherever we travel to, we always buy a little souvenir to bring back to Fethiye with us. Travels to Istanbul usually entail book purchasing – but this time, the discovery of Petek Turşuları in Beyoğlu meant the books were sacrificed and pickles won the day.
Baby red bell peppers, jalapeño peppers and nar ekşisi were bought (very cheaply) and brought back home with us. Unfortunately, there were never going to be enough and we’re already rationing them out to make them last as long as possible! The baby red bell peppers are sweet with a perfect heat and go perfectly with Turkish white cheese. The jalapeños – well, they’re just being eaten with everything and the nar ekşisi; home made, thick and syrupy. That was drizzled, in generous quantities, over last night’s salad.
It’s not every day you come across emporiums such as Petek’s and we can’t imagine there’ll be any future visits to Istanbul without stopping by here for edible souvenirs.