Turkish Food: Kars Gravyer Peynir – Photo Story

Recently, we’ve been trying to familiarise ourselves with and sample a few different Turkish cheeses. In the past, we’ve been content with the white cheeses (beyaz peynir) and local Fethiye tulum (cheese that’s stored in goat’s skin) so we decided it was time for a bit of variety in our cheese diet.

If we buy cheese from Çalış or Fethiye market, then it’s usually produced here in Fethiye. However, there are other regions of Turkey that are well known for their particular types of cheese and it’s these that we want to work our way through. Unless we go on a grand culinary, cheesy tour of Turkey, we need to rely on the local supermarket to stock these previously un-tasted varieties.

Kars Gravyer Peynir

Kars gravyer peynir is a definite tasty treat

And so, last week, we wandered around the deli counter of our supermarket and chose a cheese at random – one that looked different in texture to any type of tulum or white cheese (think feta). We picked up a firm, triangular wedge of yellow cheese with a skin running along its thicker edge and took it home to sample and research. Kars Gravyer Peynir.

Researching Turkish cheese online is no easy task. I found a few bits of information dotted about different sites but it appears there isn’t a wealth of information about a dairy product the Turks are so proud of. We did manage to find out that Kars Gravyer Cheese is one of Turkey’s famous cheeses. Good start. It’s apparently made from high fat cow’s milk and takes 10 months to produce. You can tell from the strong flavour and texture that it’s been produced over a longer period of time.

Kars Gravyer Peynir is similar in flavour to a matured English Cheddar. It’s supposed to have regular, cherry-shaped holes of around 1 to 2 centimetres in diameter and anything less than this makes it an inferior version. Well, ours certainly had holes in it but I can’t say they were regular or anywhere near 1 to 2 centimetres. It looks like we’ll have to head up to the Northeast of Turkey to Kars to sample the real thing.

As you can see from the photos, we sampled our Kars Gravyer Peynir with pickled beetroot, chillies and meaty green olives (not in the photo). A perfect lunch on a sunny afternoon in Fethiye. Oh, and the cheese tasted far from inferior.

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  1. Actually there are various cheeses in Turkey. It is not easy to find real Kars gravyer cheese, but you can find a cheese under this name. I srill think real food must be tasted in their real places.
    I recommend you to visit Tire, a small town in Izmir. This small town is famous for its cheeses. I went there a few months ago and didn’t want to leave all those cheeses as it is impossible to find them at markets in other cities.
    Also, Ezine, which is a small town of Çanakkale, has its own cheese. You can find it at supermarkets, but again it’s better to go taste it there 🙂

  2. very yummy task you put yourself against but I am sure you can do it. It’s nice to see that the Turkish cheddar isn’t bright orange.

  3. I had no idea that Turkish cheeses existed until I read this, but a cheese tour sounds incredible!

  4. @ Zerrin: I just knew someone would come along and impart some good Turkish cheese knowledge! Thanks for that. 🙂 That’s a couple of tips we’ve got now and some places where we can go to hunt out some cheese.

    @ Sarah: Yes, not a bad little task is it. Ha ha, no bright orange here.

    @ Laurel: A cheese tour would be great wouldn’t it?! 🙂

  5. I love cheddar, so I think I’ll probably like Kars Gravyer Peynir too!
    But Turkish Kars Gravyer Peynir looks a bit like Dutch Gouda… 😉

  6. Turkish cheeses? Hmm… I don’t believe I’ve ever seen them around here. I should really go scrutinize the cheese shelves now at the local markets. Love cheeses!

  7. That platter looks too good to admire. I want to pick up a piece and try the cheese! 🙂

  8. @ London Caller: I think the flavour was actually compared to Emmental but we thought it was stronger than that. Dutch Gouda we have never even seen, let alone tried. 🙂

    @ Ping: I wouldn’t be surprised if there are no Turkish cheeses on the supermarket shelves. Unfortunately, Turkey’s not big on exporting.

    @ Corinne: Produced especially with a photgraph in mind! 🙂

  9. Hi Julia,

    If you write your address down as a comment to me (btw I won’t post your comment of course:)) we’ll send you Kars Gravyer cheese as a gift from here Kars.

  10. @ Hulya: Oh wow! That would be lovely. Thanks a lot, Hulya!! 🙂

  11. I basically live on fruit, cheese and yoghurt, so I sampled each and every Turkish cheese available, given that imported cheese costs a fortune. I’ve come across this one and I like it because it has a stronger flavor. MIGROS do their own brand, very nice if you want to try.

  12. That cheese platter looks scrumptious! Definitely time to go to Turkey again.

  13. @ Inka: Yes, we liked the strong flavour of it, too. We hada tiny bit left so we put it on a tuna toastie and you could really taste it. Lovely! Will try the Migros version.

    @ Sophie: It was prepared purely for the photo. We usually just throw everything on the plate. 🙂

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