Bodrum with its enigmatic elegance is considered a summer destination, although more than a million tourists flock to its beaches, boutique hotels and clubs each summer, Bodrum never loses its cool. One can still find little corners of serenity, in the town and especially in its outlying coastal villages.
Last weekend I and a group of food blogger friends from istanbul, were invited over to be introduced to the unique tastes of Bodrum by "Cooking Classes Bodrum". A cooking class that would teach us how to cook Bodrum greens. We had the pleasure of spending a long weekend at Dörttepe / Karova where Aslıhan Mutlu and Haluk Mutlu own a beautiful traditional place to house their guests who come to visit Bodrum and take part in their culinary classes.
Turkish cuisine is one of the best and healthiest cuisines of the world and "Cooking classes Bodrum" offers recreational cookery experiences in a wonderful setting in an olive garden. Before I talk about our experiences here, I would like to give you some information about "Cooking Classes Bodrum".
The main objective here is to teach delicious Turkish cuisine to people who would like learn authentic Turkish cuisine in a very pleasant ambiance and original environment and then taste them together at their Restaurant "Erenler Sofrası". Erenler Sofrası, except for the month of February serves delicious meals every evening and from time to time they have classical music performances or dance classes to add flair to their atmosphere.
Bodrum is a very special area since one can get fresh vegetables, fruits and herbs all year round; making it “the place” for a school of Aegean Turkish Cuisine which is based mainly on olive oil and fresh vegetables. Most of the vegetables found in farmers markets are naturally organic, brought direct from the farmers and village men and women who rise so early to harvest before taking up their spot in the marketplace.
Being in the heart of very fertile lands and cultures, Turkish cuisine became a melting pot of many traditions. There are enourmous varieties of recipes. In cooking classes as well as teaching people how to cook many authentic Turkish meat and fish dishes, recipes for many herbs and vegetables that are grown wild, such as the nettles, mallows, coltsfoot, chicory, mushrooms, wild asparagus and wild samphire from the seashore are also taught. The use of flavors like zests and juices that come from many citrus orchards around the Bodrum area adds a different taste to some of the dishes and balances the olive oil used in cooking.
And now this is what we did in Bodrum!
After we were picked up at Bodrum airport by Aslı and Haluk, they drove us to their wonderful place for a delicious breakfast. Their place in Dörttepe village is very peaceful, colourful, beautifully furnished and very relaxing. They are great hosts, they make you feel at home.
We had a huge breakfast then we started the day with a wonderful visit to the local produce market in Turgutreis to buy ingredients for our cooking class. Aslı showed us around the market full of beautiful fruit, vegetables, spices, cheeses, breads, olives and herbs and greens.. We had many sample tastes of the offerings from the farmers. Then we came to Erenler Sofrası where we spent the next couple of hours preparing and cooking delicious Turkish greens with olive oil, grilled fish patties and a very special meat dish, veal stew with tangerine, seabass salad, borek with greens.
The food Aslı made with us was very healty and she enjoys cooking madly. As we were preparing the greens for cooking, Aslı explained us the vegetables and fruits seasonal cycles and the historical use of the spices and herbs in different parts of Turkey. After the class ended we moved to the elegantly prepared tables where our dinner was served with the greens we cooked and some more dishes accompanied by wine and fruit juices. The desserts she made were just divine. We had Panna Cotta, it was coffee flavored and a cake like syrupy Turkish dessert made with cheese. (Lor Tatlısı)
After dinner "The Sirtaki Class" she had arranged for us took us by surprise. We had so much fun and had such great time, I can't thank her enough. The next day was even more surpring, Aslı took us to another village not far from Dörttepe. "Etrim Village" This place is famous with its hand knotted Turkish rugs and kilims. A very colourful place with really nice owners. We had our breakfast there with traditional boreks, homemade cheeses, butter, jams, fresh tomatoes and nice bread. As we were sipping our teas we were informed about the handwoven rugs from small to oversized dimensions, special rugs and kilims and about rugs made to order.
Then we went to" Selia Artisanal Farmery," this ecological farm and vineyard is established, designed and managed by Selva İşmen. A gourmet wine and olive oil production location. They also produce goats cheese with no yeast in a very traditional way. One can learn about wine making in the ancient times and tasting their wine and homemade cheese at a breath-taking location surrounded by olive trees.
In their little shop you can get natural products like coffee & cinnamon homemade soaps, raw sesame seeds, molasses and vinegars made with Zinfandel grapes, fruit and mastika jams, olives, olive oil and wines. All organic stuff.
The next day after a really nice breakfast we visited artist Büşra Velioğlu's atelier in Bitez. She has been making silver jewelry for 22 years now. Beautiful and elegant, all one of a kind.
Finally, it was time to say goodbye to Bodrum and to our hospitable hosts. We greatly enjoyed our stay at Aslı and Haluk's, the dishes we prepared and consumed with Aslı during the cooking classes, the Sirtaki Class with Emel Özben and our visits to Selia Farmery and to Etrim Village in serene Bodrum. It was a very enjoyable experience. I would recommend "Cooking Classes Bodrum" for all food lovers and people who enjoy cooking.
Please visit links at these adresses for information about classes.
Adress: Cumhuriyet caddesi, Armutalan Sokak No:9/A Ortakent