Apple Tea & Turkish Daydreams

apple tea 5This morning, I brewed a cup of apple tea and began wishing I were in Istanbul.

four teas from istanbul

We bought four types of tea when we last visited – orange cinnamon pomegranate, green tea with orange peel, apple tea and “love tea” (that’s the one with the rose buds). They smell wonderful.

apple tea 7The apple tea smells just like apple pie. It reminds me of Turkey. The country, not the bird.

apple tea 1apple tea 2 apple tea 3 apple tea 4 apple tea 6 What should I have with my tea?

lokum 1 Lokum (aka “Turkish Delight”) of course.

lokum 3This is the good stuff. We brought three kilos of it home in my backpack. We kept one and gave the other two away to family and friends. I wish we had bought more.

lokum 4The red one is made with pomegranate, honey and pistachios; then it’s coated with coconut flakes. The one on the far right is made with pistachios, honey and coconut flakes. The top one is made from hazelnuts, figs, honey and coconut flakes. That’s it, nothing else. No artificial ingredients and no preservatives. My family and friends all like the pomegranate one the best, but I love them all.

lokum 5The particular shop where we purchase this lokum is located in Istanbul’s Spice Bazaar. We like it because they keep this lokum inside the shop, protected from the passing crowds. They package it on the spot and vacuum seal each box. And of course, they offer samples so you can taste before making a purchase.

lokum 6On my first visit (we’ve since been back twice), the shopkeeper told me that if I kept the lokum in a zip lock bag and stored it in a cool, dark cupboard, it would easily last nine months. I thought he was joking.

lokum 8

He wasn’t.

lokum 7We purchased this in May of 2012. It’s still soft and slightly chewy; it’s nothing like the rock hard junk sold in the tourist shops. And unlike the pre-boxed crap, this tastes like the figs, nuts, pomegranate and honey that it’s made from. It’s delicious – not too sweet and perfect with tea. And true to his word, it tastes as good today as it did on the day we bought it.

lokum 9

This stuff is isn’t cheap. At today’s exchange rate, 58 TL/KG  comes out to about $32.00 per kilo, but you get what you pay for. And I respect a shop that posts their prices; you know what to expect. You can buy as little or as much as you like, but because we made such a large purchase, they were kind enough to offer us a generous discount. If you go, don’t expect a discount for small purchases; we bought 3 kilos.

apple tea 8

We also bought our tea here. At today’s exchange rate, this apple tea is about $22.00 per kilogram. My neighbor came home from Istanbul and claimed that the apple tea and lokum were awful. When she tasted the stuff we brought home, she changed her mind.

lokum guysThese guys speak excellent English and the one on the right (I believe his name is Seçtac) actually remembered us two years later, on our second visit. They are perfect gentlemen and a pleasure to do business with – no high pressure sales pitches, no funny business. Just two genuinely nice guys selling high quality products. If you’ve never had lokum, or if you have, but didn’t like it – please, try their products.

You can find them at the Ottoman Spice Center – Misir Çarsisi Içi No. 17, Eminönü

This shop is located inside Instanbul’s famed Spice Bazaar (Misir Çarsisi), on the left hand side of the main aisle, shortly after you enter through the front door or main entrance.

If you go, tell them I said “merhaba” (hello!).

Tel: 90 212 527 71 21

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