Now that I’ve been here for 11 months, and have been constantly adapting to this culture, I found buying presents this time to send home was a lot easier.
My first round was good – typical Turkish souvenirs, that everyone enjoyed, but this time I focused more on things that don’t exist or are not commonly available in the States.
Pictured above from left to right:
Acı Kahvaltılık Sos (Acuka) / Spicy Breakfast Sauce
Traditionally spread on bread at breakfast, a red pepper and walnut based sauce mixed with tomato paste, garlic and spices. (This particular jar includes: pepper paste, tomato paste, sunflower oil, walnuts, hazelnuts, salt, spices and garlic)
A staple in our home. There is a non-spicy version, but we love spice. Usually used at breakfast and enjoyed with eggs, but sometimes for a snack we spread on crackers topped with cheese.
Köfte Sos / Köfte Sauce
The spicy red sauce served with köfte (turkish meatballs), made of hot peppers, red pepper, vinegar and salt.
A great additional topping when eating meat or chicken!
Balparmak Çam Balı / Balparmak Pine Honey
Honey is a must-buy souvenir when visiting. Turkey is a land of fine honey and is the second largest production of honey in the world, next to China. On my last trip home, I brought flower honey, so this time pine honey, from the Aegean region.
İncir Reçeli / Fig Jam
Turkey is the world’s largest producer of figs, making this gift an obvious choice.
Balkabağı Reçeli / Pumpkin Jam
(For anyone paying that close attention to the label, yes, it reads Balkabağı Tatlısı which translates to Pumpkin Dessert).
Fresh pumpkin is a favorite ingredient in many Turkish dishes, especially sweets like pumpkin dessert.
If interested, other popular jams besides rose, fig and pumpkin include, and not limited to: quince (ayva), peach (şeftali), blackberry (böğürtlen), raspberry (ahududu), apricot (kayısı), strawberry (çilek), orange (portakal), cherry (vişne) and watermelon (karpuz). Fortunately, so far I’ve tried homemade orange, fig, rose hip, blackberry and peach – all equally delicious!
Other items purchased and not shown above include:
- Olives (zeytin)
- Almond Cookies (bademli kurabiyesi)
- Turkish Delight (lokum)
- Rose Jam (gül reçeli)
- Rose Green Tea (yeşil çay – güllü)
- Dried Apricots (kuru kayısı)
- Olive Oil Soap, Avacado Oil and Dried Hibiscus Flowers
There are many organic shops all over Istanbul, carrying 100% Turkish made and natural products. Ranging from oils, teas, beauty products and more. Because of this, my sister specifically requested the above. May I add, at least a half or third of the cost compared to the States.