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Turkish Food: Chewing On Manisa Macunu

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Do you remember last year when we went to the Üzümlü Mushroom Festival and we came across a street seller impressing the crowds by winding sticky, multi-coloured sweetness around a stick? He was doing a roaring trade and our friend told us it was Osmanlı Macunu; a traditional food from the Ottoman times. We didn’t try any on that day because it just looked so sweet. It was one of those sweets best left for the kids to enjoy.

After we did that post, many people got in touch to tell us more about Osmanlı Macun and, when not being sold in the sweeties-for-kids version, it’s taken / eaten / drunk for its medicinal properties.

Manisa Mesir Macunu

Famous Manisa Mesir Macunu

The story goes that Hafsa Sultan, the wife of Yavuz Sultan Selim became ill in the 1500s. When no cures were found, a special paste, made from many herbs and spices, was prepared in Manisa (macun is the Turkish word for paste) and sent to Hafsa Sultan. The cure worked. So impressed with this special paste was Hafsa Sultan that she ordered it to be thrown from the minarets and domes of Sultan Mosque to the waiting townsfolk below and Manisa still has an annual Macun Festivalı (Paste Festival) to this day.

There’s a reason for writing about Manisa Macunu today. Last week, we were given this packet as a gift and, after learning from others that it was a spicy rather than sweet flavour, we couldn’t wait to tuck in to sample it.

This particular packet contained five sticks of colourfully wrapped macun. We tore off the wrappers and sunk our teeth into the sticks. As soon as your tongue hits the macun there’s an immediate zing of black pepper, cinnamon, aniseed, clove, cumin. And these are just a few of the ingredients used. Others include turmeric, aniseed and licorice. The list goes on but you get the picture. There’s a comforting, medicinal yet Christmassy (think mulled wine) flavour to it and we’re Manisa Macun’s newest fans.

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Turkey's For Life

Friday 9th of March 2012

@ Erica (Irene): Thanks for getting back with an update! :) Yeahy, glad you're going to get some and would love to go to the festival your husband went to.

Erica (Irene)

Friday 9th of March 2012

Hi again....asked my husband about the Festival and he said as a little kid he went with his Family all the time.....his Mom always had those 'macun'. Next time we are there he said he will get some for me.

Thanks for the post I learned something new. :-)))

Turkey's For Life

Wednesday 7th of March 2012

@ Sheril: You should come to Turkey to find some then you can try it. :)

@ Anjuli: So intriguing that we can't find anywhere selling it in Fethiye!! We've looked everywhere. :)

Anjuli

Wednesday 7th of March 2012

hmmm...sounds very intriguing indeed!!

sheril benedict

Wednesday 7th of March 2012

sounds interesting ..but i never heard about this before ..completely new to me ..thx for the post

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