As an American living in Turkey, I was shocked to see all the varieties of yogurt when I first moved here.
Stop by any grocery store or a peynirci (a cheese shop), and you will find a plethora of yogurt in plastic tubs, clay crocks or glass containers.
Even after nearly two years of living in Istanbul, I still don’t understand all the varieties of yogurt. Neither do some of my fellow expats. Is there a handbook somewhere?
I understand doğal (natural) and kaymaksiz (without kaymak). But what about the other 18 varieties?
Turkey makes the yogurt shelves in the U.S. look boring where you basically have non-fat, low-fat and plain yogurt.
Then, you have all the varieties of fruit-flavored yogurt in the U.S. I used to love these yogurts, but now I realize how much tastier and healthier it is to buy plain yogurt and add your own fresh, cut-up fruit.
In the U.S., the closest thing you can find to Turkish yogurt is the Fage brand of Greek yogurt, but that’s about it.
In my kitchen in Istanbul, I’ve fallen in love with süzme yoğurt - a strained Turkish yogurt that is extra creamy, extra rich and thusly, extra fatty. But ohhh so good!
|Organic Turkish süzme yoğurt served with fresh raspberries and a sprinkling of sugar.|
Süzme yoğurt is the perfect substitute for sour cream and also is a key ingredient in some of my muffins, scones, cakes, my breakfast and even summerpopsicles.
This particular süzme yoğurt, I bought this week, is made by Elta Ada, an organic farm on the Turkish island of Gökçeada, established in 2004. Simply tir any type of fresh fruit into this thick yogurt, sweetened with a little sugar, and you have the perfect snack!
Gökçeada is Turkey's largest island in the Aegean Sea and is known for its organic farming practices. More than 400 producers are involved in organic viniculture, olive oil, animal breeding and organic vegetable gardening on the island.
Sounds like another place to add to my constantly-growing list of places to see in Turkey. I cross off one destination just to add two more to it!
Maybe one of the farms on Gökçeada would let me volunteer to work for a day there. Any takers?