The sun is setting for the last time on A Guide to Fethiye… but from the end of June all archived and future posts will be available on http://www.fethiyetimes.com. Thanks to everyone for their support.
Russell Crowe selected some evocative locations, including Livissi, the ruined town in Kayaköy, and the classical ruins in Tlos, (a mountain village southwest of Fethiye) for filming scenes for his directorial debut, The Water Diviner. Crowe also plays the leading role and is joined by Olga Kurylenko, Jai Courtney, Ryan Corr, Yilmaz Erdogan and Cem Yilmaz.
The screen play, written by Andrew Anastasios and Andrew Knight, is the story of an Australian farmer who goes in search of his sons following the Gallipoli Campaign (Çanakkale savaşı) of 1915.
This is great news for our region, which is fast becoming a location of choice for some very important and dynamic movies.
Roll on general release, which is said to be towards the end of this year…
In case you missed it on Channel Seven tonight – or are overseas friends – here is a YouTube link to the first official look at The Water Diviner. It’s narrated by Russell Crowe, as he tells of his journey as a director and introduces the main cast including Olga Kurylenko, Jai Courtney, Ryan Corr, Yilmaz Erdogan and Cem Yilmaz. There is also some beautiful footage from location in Turkey, South Australia and Sydney – and just the slightest hint at the action you can expect to see. Russell and the extraordinary cast and crew are bringing this story to life in a way I could never have imagined.
(Russell Crowe on location in South Australia. Source: adelaidenow.com.au)
Shane Delia, with his laughing eyes and smiling, open face can’t even attempt to disguise his delight when he tastes something he likes and thankfully, while he is in Fethiye, this seems to happen every time he samples the local cuisine. Australian chef, restauranteur, and TV personality, Shane has been munching, slurping and tasting his way around the eastern Mediterranean and middle east, discovering the gastronomic roots of his family and broadening his own horizons. Most recently he has been filming in Turkey for a forthcoming Australian TV series.
His visit to the country included a hectic six days of exploring, filming (and eating) in Fethiye, Üzümlü, Dikencik and Kayaköy. Any gastronome worthy of the name would consider this a visit to nothing less that Turkey’s Mediterranean foodie paradise and fortunate Shane was no exception. But for him, in addition to experiencing many new taste sensations and flavours, he will then invent ways of transforming these into new dishes that at sometime in the future will almost certainly appear on the menu at his eclectic, Melbourne based restaurant, Maha.
For me, this was a great chance to celebrate Fethiye and when I was approached earlier in the year by one of the production team, who asked if I though the food culture of Fethiye could stretch, maybe, to fill part of a programme I guffawed, replying through my chuckles, “…stretch to fill a part of a programme? Why, Fethiye could have its own series!” As a local ‘fixer’ I gave them a list of what I considered to be suburb, authentic places to visit…far too many as it happened but choosing between them was more than I could do. Tough choices had to be made and in the end…and this is the story of what happened…
Long before mass tourism came to the shores of southwest Anatolia, the coastal trading and fishing town of Fethiye was surrounded by farms and small holdings and already had a well-deserved nationwide reputation for growing delicious fruit and vegetables. They were popular across the water in Rhodes too and were the staple ingredients used to make a range of delicious but simple dishes; always seasonal, always tasty, fresh. To supplement the fare from time to time, villagers had olives, olive oil, eggs, pulses, different grains for bread and pastries, fish, etc. Meat for only for special occasions. the villagers also collected various grasses and herbs that Mother Nature thoughtfully provided for free: many are still popular today. This was all there was in the years before supermarkets and western fast food became an option: the choice was seasonal, and limited but healthy and economical, with the various lokanta, or restaurants, cooking and selling pretty much what people also prepared and ate in their homes.
Now the restaurant and food shopping scene has changed beyond recognition in this part of southwest Turkey and although some of the food remains truly traditional, many cosmopolitan eateries have opened up to take advantage of traditional dishes but with a western twist, that appeal to people looking to Italy, India, Thailand, China and Mexico at meal times. Anyone who has visited Hisaronu or Çalış will know that it excels at serving everything from the ‘full English breakfast’ to ‘chicken tikka masala’, from a Sunday roast to ‘fish and chips’. There is even a growing cache amongst some Turks for buying processed and packet food; the massive chest-freezers in Fethiye’s large number of supermarkets are well stocked with ready meals.
However, for anyone fortunate enough to be invited into a truly traditional Turkish home, they will know that tasty, time-honoured recipes still thrive in Fethiye and the surrounding area and are the food of choice for the majority of locals, as well as the many foreign residents. Already aware of the wealth of Fethiye’s traditional cuisine, Melbourne based chef, Shane Delia, and his TV production team decided to visit Fethiye as part of a TV series he is making about traditional, home cooked Turkish cuisine, he immediately asked for advice on where the best places to see these dishes being made and to taste them, could be found and I was happy to help.
Shane was delighted to find that, even though tourist resorts suggested otherwise, behind the façade of snack bars and restaurants selling international cuisine, there remains a stalwart wealth of traditional food and produce, much of which is sold in Fethiye’s Farmers’ Market, which is held every Friday. This is a particularly good place to find the old ‘heritage’ varieties of fruits and vegetables, so many of which a being lost these days to the less flavoursome commercial varieties.
Agri-business has certainly left its mark; fruit and vegetables are now grown on the basis of yield and uniformity rather than flavour…but thankfully, the Farmers’ market and the seed exchanges in Fethiye, are doing its best to combat the tough international legislation that suppresses and will inevitably eradicate the traditional, tasty and much loved varieties preferred by foodies everywhere. Fortunately, most local small holders grow traditional crops, (for example, tomatoes, onions, okra, beans, chickpeas and many varieties of courgette, squash and pumpkin), and are reluctant to change. If it is a good season there maybe even be a surplus to sell at Fethiye’s Farmers’ Market.
So, it was here, in this temple to Turkish Taste and Flavour, that Shane and his team started their gastronomic pilgrimage by visiting this bustling centre for local produce and food. Weaving their way past the stalls, the director Max stopping their progress to film here and there, Shane feasted his eyes on the wonderful range of produce, tasting it whenever possible.
As part of the programme, he was introduced to Ayşe Genç, who with her partner Cengiz, lives in the Middle-Earth forest-clad mountain paradise of Dikencik, beyond Üzümlü. She is a fount of knowledge about historic and contemporary culinary practice and customs in the Anatolian kitchen had it had already been decided during the scouting trip earlier this summer, that she would be Shane’s interpreter for this programme; acting as a linguistic bridge between him and some of Fethiye’s great home cooks and local producers of traditional delicacies.
Shane is no stranger to the culinary delights of the Eastern Mediterranean. He was born in Melbourne to Maltese parents. He was no more than a child when he started to cook and, on his own admission, his parents sacrificed a great deal to give him the opportunities that have made him one of the leading young Australian chefs he has now become. “I started to cook at a young age and just wanted to cook the best I could. Of course, I was influenced by the food my family ate. I had an apprenticeship in classical French cuisine and for me it is essential to know the classics and to know the basics of cooking before you can do anything else, whether you are cooking French or another nation’s cuisine. As my cooking style progressed I have tried to look more at the food that appeals to my heart, and not just my mind. My heart has always been with my family and my family are true Maltese and in Australia I was brought up in a Maltese community. My wife’s family came from the Lebanon. Also, I have travelled a lot, particularly in the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East, and this is where the main influences for the food served in my restaurant [Maha] come from.”
Shane is, like many of his customers, second generation and considers them, like himself more adventurous than his parent’s generation. “We are lucky in Australia to be very multicultural, so we get many different nationalities coming [to Maha] but what is really good is when we have second generation guests; Turks, Lebanese, Arabs, because they’ve been in Australia for a while and are perhaps more open minded about me messing around with their classics. The ones that came over in, say, the 70s are still a little bit set in their ways and what to see the dishes cooked right, which is fair enough! They’re not into fusion but the modern Australian Turks, the modern Australian Arabs, love it because they’ve grown up on this wonderful home food, but a lot of it hasn’t progressed since then, you know, it’s a bit stuck in its ways. So, it’s great for someone like me to be in a country with no limitations. This means I’m able to experiment a little bit. But, having said that, I don’t like to mess around with things that are perfect. How can you make, say, mantı or pekmez, better than it is? The best mantı* you can get would be from an old lady’s house. So, ultimately, I try not to step on anyone’s culinary toes.”
Asked what he has learnt from his journey around Turkey in general, and the Fethiye region in particular, he said, “Well of course I haven’t been in Fethiye very long but I do notice that the old traditions are very much alive, despite tourism. I thought the Farmer’s market was great and could have spent a long time there but time constraints mean we are constantly under pressure.”
From the organised chaos of the market to the quiet, almost meditative hum of a local Lokum or Turkish Delight workshop. Sugar, of course, together with various natural colours and flavours, thickeners and such like were stirred in massive mixers for hour upon hour… luckily there was some that had been made earlier for us all to taste…
Into the mountains…
Shane and the production team spent a couple of days filming in the mountains town of Yeşilüzümlü, behind Fethiye. They watched a family make the chewy and incredibly delicious Cevizli Socuk, a sweet (but nothing like so sweet as the Turkish Delight), grape molasses based sausage packed with walnuts)**, which are made every autumn in this part of the world. Watching and filming whole process, unchanged for generations, and presided over by two of the village elders, this was an awesome experience for all of us.
Shane was particularly enthusiastic about what he saw: “As soon as you leave the resort areas on the coast and head out to the beautiful mountains to places like Yeşilüzümlü, Dikencik, Kayaköy and so on, and go into people’s homes, it’s priceless. This isn’t a tourist attraction; it’s real life! I have a deep respect and appreciation for the effort and traditions that go to into making things like this. It’s not just cooking; it’s a lifestyle. It’s really inspirational, you know. I always believe you have to know you’re past before you can change your future… and that applies to everything in life, not just cooking! When I go back to work and want to experiment with some new flavours, I’ve seen how it’s done properly, traditionally and I’ve got an understanding of how to take it to another level.”
Shane also visited another house where he learnt about Saç Böreği or Gözleme in traditional village style; once again over an open fire. While Ayşe explained the process to him, villagers, curious about what was going on, came to sit in the sun, pretending to relax but all the while watching what was happening and as is always the way, offering gratuitous advise. The delicious flat breads stuffed with cheese, herbs and potatoes were served for lunch with thirst quenching Ayran all of which was wolfed down by the hungry team.
A whole day was spent in Dikencik… a mountain paradise, with breathtaking views, comfortable accommodation and, most important as far as Shane was concerned on this occasion at least, the most scrumptious food. Ayşe, Shane’s interpreter, also happens to be one of the best cooks around. She and her partner, Cengiz have a collected a wealth of recipes and culinary techniques over the years, which they use to great effect in their warm, friendly farmhouse-style kitchen, creating a banqueting table positively groaning with plate after plate of exquisite food. Shane and the team filmed some of this food being prepared and cooked, before devouring a healthy amount of it themselves.
The final day’s location was in Kayaköy. Here, in a farm that is part of the Travel Foundation’s Taste of Fethiye project, Shane really got hands on with making what has to be the best soup in the world… Tarhana made from a vast array of home grown ingredients that are cooked, stirred, squeezed, pressed, ground, fermented in sacks, ground again and eventually stored, so the fragrant powder keeps during winter months…while sustaining the families that eat it.
Şemsi Toprak representing the Taste of Fethiye project, explained to Shane the importance of sustainable tourism and how this is enhanced by working with local farmers, fruit and vegetable growers.
While there, the local Imam, his wife and daughter came bearing an enormous bowl of Aşure…or Noah’s Pudding.
Australian viewers will have to be patient but for the benefit of everyone living in Fethiye who’s reading this, and who won’t have the chance to pop over to Melbourne, Shane’s cooking trip around Turkey is the second series of TV programmes; the first took him to Malta, Lebanon and Iran. He explained how the series impacts on his restaurant. “Our programmes appeal to discerning viewers who focus on real food shows, they want to learn something that’s real. And these viewers are my clientele and they come to my restaurant to experience the kind of thing they see me experiencing, so I’m very conscious of that when I’m writing the new menus.”
The series will not be broadcast until July 2014 but already he’s being pressured to write a book about his travels around Turkey, so, when and if one is published this will be a great way for people throughout the world to enjoy some of the creative and delicious ways Shane will no doubt devise following his short but incredibly busy trip to this part of Anatolia.
* Mantı are the Turkish version of tortellini, frequently served with yogurt, melted butter and chilli (pul biber)
** For sale at the Fethiye’s Farmers’ Market (every Friday) during the autumn and winter months
For more information about Shane Delia and his restaurant Maha visit: www.shanedelia.com.au
Not only was Monday 16th September the first day of term and a chance for the children at Kayaköy First School to get together after the long summer break, it was also a special day for another reason: the youngsters had a surprise visit from Dean Livesley and Jane Akatay, who came to the school bearing a colourful stash of goodies: a range of art resources they were donating to the school, including folders, Play Doh, paints, exercise books and various other goodies, and which had been bought for the children with profits from the sale of ‘A Guide to Kayaköy’, a book they published about the valley and its historic abandoned town. The authors presented the resources to the Head Teacher, Hasan Şahın, and the kindergarten teacher, Ayşegül Küt.
Everyone was delighted and made the most of the occasion by posing for a photograph at the entrance to the school. Although representatives of FIG (Fethiye International Group), and coordinating organisation FETAV, who are the official fundraisers for all charitable work in the Fethiye region, had hoped to be there too, sadly they could not be present. However, FIG’s chair, Jill Erdoğan made the following comment: “As always, FETAV and the FIG team are always very happy to see local schools benefit from fundraising activities. Because of support from FIG and other organisations, Kaya School is now one of the best equipped schools in the area.”
Dean and Jane wrote and published ‘A Guide to Kayaköy’ in 2012. The book paints a picture of the valley, its history and the contemporary scene, as well as mapping and describing some of the many wonderful walks in the area. Contributions to the guide were also made by author, Louis de Bernieres, whose novel, ‘Birds Without Wings’ was inspired by the abandoned town, Greek archeologist, Petros Mechtidis and amateur historian Peter Rogers.
So far they have donated 1,000TL from the sale of the book and this was topped up with 100TL from Muzzy, the owner of Muzzy’s Place in the village. He has been keen to support the school now it has reopened.
The head teacher, Hasan Şahın, told Land of Lights: “We now have 27 children on the register and hopes that, in view of the school’s success, the school role will continue to rise. My staff and I are working hard to make the school a success and with local support our facilities are the best around.”
‘Old boy’, Cem Selcuk, who wanted to make sure that his child had settled on the first day of term said that the facilities had improved beyond recognition since he was a student there back in the mid 1980s. He is happy that his son is going to the school, especially following the many improvements that have been made.
About the authors:
Dean Livesley, co-author of the guide, lives in Kayaköy and runs a kayaking and adventure tourism company, Sevencapes, as well as writing guidebooks. His latest book is a guide to walking the Carian Trail, a scenic ramble through the beautiful provinces of Muğla and Aydın.
Jane Akatay is a freelance writer, journalist and events organiser: working in Fethiye with Land of Lights, Cultural Connections and Fusion Fethiye.
For more information about A Guide to Kayakoy visit: www.kayakoyguide.com
Carian Trail: www.cariantrail.com
This is not strictly about Fethiye but I couldn’t resist! This is a great book and I am an enthusiastic follower of Kym’s blog (see below for details)
Didim resident & Author Kym Çiftci, owner of the immensely popular blog ‘Turkey with Stuff In’, is celebrating the long awaited release of her first book of the same name. The book, now available on Amazon, is autobiographic and tells the tale of Kym’s incredible journey from the UK to Turkey and the reasons behind it. The story starts as Kym’s did in 2005, roaming through the streets of Altinkum as it was at that time, taking the reader on a no holds barred series of adventures and mishaps that will make you laugh out loud, shake your head in disbelief, and fall deeply in love, just like Kym did.
This is a thought provoking tale of one woman’s journey into unknown territory. Faced with a winter of isolation and in a constant battle with the language barrier, Kym takes you back in time to where it all began, right where her love affair with the country started. Unbeknown to her at that time, this love affair included a man and a new family that opened their hearts and their homes to her and finally, after a long journey, she finds a sense of belonging.
This book flits through a range of genres and makes great reading for anyone interested in travel, romantic comedy, adventure and culture and is particularly informative for anyone wishing to learn more about Turkey and it’s culture. It may be autobiographic but it is written with such style and humour that you could be reading a well-crafted piece of chick lit.
Turkey with Stuff in was released in August 2013 and is already receiving rave reviews.
“Hard to put down once you begin turning the pages. A true tale of an incredible journey with twists and turns along the road. Each chapter leaves you wanting more, waiting to find out what the next turn in the road will bring. There are places that will leave you open-mouthed in disbelief while others will have you laughing out loud, looking around you to see if anyone heard you!
“The author’s style of telling her story brings Turkey to life. It fully captures Turkeys sights, sounds, colours, people and their culture, all dished up with a big dollop of humour.
“These descriptive passages are for me the really tasty stuffin’ in this book… when reading it I can smell the heat, the flowers and herbs, the street life, the laughter and the food, all of which are essential ingredients for a real life in Turkey, and that is something many expats never, ever, find.
“This heart-warming tale provides plenty of highs and lows, good times and bad but gives a timely reminder to us all that life is for living. There is much to find beyond the bars and the beaches and the author tells it straight from the hip. Get your tissues ready.”
“If her book is anything like her blog readers are in for a treat – for me no one can bring their adventures to life the way she can – a 3d tale complete with sights, sounds and smells that leap off the page or screen at you.”
“I was drawn to her ability to wrap up a scene or situation in words that drew me in and made me a vital part of whatever she was describing. I was there. This is a rare and precious gift that is given to few and she has it in abundance.”
About Kym Ciftci:
Kym was born in London’s East End & was raised by her Grandparents until the age of 13. After that her life became a series of disasters. A dalliance with a Persian Playboy resulted in a son and eventually, by sheer will, she clawed her way up the corporate ladder in high heels & plenty of lippy, carving a career & a decent life for them both. She now lives in Turkey with husband Murat.
- Publisher: BloggingBooks (6 Aug 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 384177122X
- ISBN-13: 978-3841771223
The book is available on Amazon here: http://tinyurl.com/qdmze56 <http://tinyurl.com/qdmze56>
Find her blog at: http://www.turkeywithstuffin.wordpress.com <http://www.turkeywithstuffin.wordpress.com/>
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Turkey-With-Stuff-in/194784790592165?fref=ts <http://www.facebook.com/pages/Turkey-With-Stuff-in/194784790592165?fref=ts>
These days there are certainly more restaurants in Fethiye than you can shake a stick at… but none can claim to combine the town’s dramatically beautiful seaside location, wonderful food and drink together with elegant Istanbul style in the way Burak and Ebru do at their elegant shore-side brasserie, Veranda.
In case you’re not what brasserie means, and although I knew the word I couldn’t precisely define it, have a look online and you’ll see it is a type of ‘French restaurant with a relaxed, upmarket setting’, and this description is perfectly in tune with the elegant construction, sensitively designed right down to the last detail by Burak and Ebru and furnished in a sophisticated yet comfortable style. Interestingly, the furniture inside the restaurant, together with the table decorations and handicrafts are sourced by Ebru and are for sale.
Fethiye has always been pretty well provided for in terms of restaurants serving local or Turkish cuisine and in recent years a trail of fast food franchises are popping up throughout the town centre. In addition to these, there is also a trail of establishments along the coastal road leading from the centre of Fethiye to Çalış but Veranda must surely take credit for being the most attractive; it’s totally sympathetic to its surroundings right down to the last detail, even the cloakrooms are pleasing to the eye!
Burak and Ebru are a charming couple who take a great deal of pride in their business. They have comprehensive knowledge of the culinary arts, which they use with great success and a hands-on approach to running the restaurant, ensuring that excellence always remains at the top of their agenda. They make a point of being closely involved in every part of Veranda’s day to day running, from dispensing a demitasse of Illy espresso (delicious cappuccino, Americano etc) to serving at table.
The couple originally hail from the neighbourhood of Istanbul called Nişantaşi and have brought with them to Fethiye from this highly fashionable district a level of sophistication, elegance and customer service that can only be of pleasure to their discerning consumers.
From the chef, Emre Şener, elegant in his white uniform, and his kitchen team, to the young staff serving at table, the whole restaurant with calm professional efficiency under the watchful eyes of its owners. Guests have a choice of sitting outside on the wooden decks at tables placed far enough apart for a private conversation and shaded by large, shady parasols or, should they prefer, inside the airy beautifully decorated, airy restaurant.
Breakfast at Veranda is an absolute must if you are hankering after a flaky, buttery freshly baked croissant served with curls of butter and apricot or quince jam. The Turkish breakfast is attractively presented served with exquisite little walnut or sundried tomato and herb rolls, tea or coffee.
In the summer months a shady table positioned to capture any available breeze is essential and Veranda’s lunch menu harmonizes delightfully with the Mediterranean environment, offering customers a range of salads and light meals, ideal at this time of year. After your meal you can chose to relax for a while on one of the sofas before heading off again into the afternoon heat.
There are few better ways of spending the evening in Fethiye other than sitting by the beautiful waters of the gulf, watching the sun slip below the horizon in all its fiery glory. Nowadays the town’s folk take full advantage of the promenade to stroll along the water’s edge, enjoying the cooler night temperatures. Veranda is the perfect location to observe Fethiye’s nightlife but at a discreet distance. The atmosphere is further enhanced by soft background music, and inconspicuous yet attentive service.
The dinner menu offers a variety of options to suit all appetites, palates and tastes and dishes are skilfully presented. The aperitif and wine menu is comprehensive and Burak is happy to advise on what goes well with different dishes. On the evening we went there we had a delicious meal of just the right amount.
For our starters we selected the carpaccio of salmon and sea bass; delicious and almost a work of art, so exquisitely was it presented, and a tasty goat cheese wrapped in buttery kadayif, served with a frisse (endive) salad: both dishes were exceptional and went down a treat. For our main courses we had lamb tandir; slowly cooked for hours so it melted in the mouth, and fillets of sea bass with a fennel sauce. Once again they were outstanding.
We were quite full by then but were nevertheless tempted by the baked cheesecake and tiramisu; both were plate-lickingly superb. A friend who joined us for coffee couldn’t resist a glass goblet of a very special creamy muhallebi, a traditional creamy Turkish desert topped with pistachios. We were obliged to taste it (for research purposes) and are more than happy to report that it was absolutely delicious…
Visit Veranda at:
2. Etap Sahil Bandı
Cahit Gündüz Cad. No:13
48300 Fethiye, Muğla, Turkey
+90 252 612 33 10
Tunahan Uysal, a Fethiye craftsman who makes sandals from ox hide, a traditional type of footwear popular with nomads and farmers in the Fethiye region, originally started his career as an apprentice to his father. However, he has recently been recognised as a master craftsman in his own right by the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism and says he will now receive the support he needs to promote his time-honoured trade at fairs both in Turkey and abroad.
35 year old Tunahan Uysal makes the sandals from thick, durable ox hide in his tiny shop in Dispenser Street, Fethiye. This ancient form of footwear is traditionally worn by nomads who spend the summer months in the high plateaux above the town, but they are also worn by traditional folk dance groups from local schools and are also bought by tourists looking for an authentic product.
He said that that he learned his trade from his father and now wishes to pass on his expertise to youngsters but is concerned by the younger generations’ lack of interest. He continued by saying: “I wish to pass on this traditional craft to future generations. I was taught by my father and eventually want to train my own son.” Tunahan hopes that his recognition by the Turkish state with encourage youngsters to want to learn about this ancient craft.
Tunahan makes up to 200 pairs of sandals every year, which is a prodigious number bearing in mind that his sandals are totally handmade. his is delighted that he has at last received recognition for his craft from the state, adding, “The Ministry of Culture and Tourism have recognized me as a master of this traditional handicraft. I shall be demonstrating my skills at fairs both in Turkey and abroad. Until now it has been difficult to get the recognition I deserve but from now on I shall be able to represent my country, promoting my sandals, which is one of Turkey’s traditional handicrafts. Of course, this makes me very happy.” The ministry’s department for research and training presented the certificate to Tunahan Uysal, emphasizing the importance of keeping Turkey’s cultural heritage alive and to passing it on to future generations.