Plate of Plenty

Olives, tomatoes, and cheese are just some of the delicious offerings that make up a Turkish morning meal.

By Sarah Karnasiewicz

Published on September 9, 2008


There are dozens of varieties of cheese in Turkey, and whether you wake up in an apartment in Istanbul, a home on the Black Sea, or a rustic inn in eastern Anatolia, you're likely to find at least a few of them on your breakfast plate. Together with briny olives, cucumber and tomato, and breads like simit, a molasses-tinged, ring-shaped loaf, these cheeses form the backbone of a Turkish morning meal. My favorites are the aged, golden, and slightly sharp eski kasar (far edge of the plate); fetalike beyaz peynir (under the eski kasar); and lor, a soft sheep's milk cheese that's similar to ricotta (at the center of the plate). Often rounding out the spread are boiled eggs, bowls of thick yogurt drizzled with wildflower honey, homemade sour cherry, strawberry, or quince preserves, and mounds of fresh hazelnuts, almonds, and pistachios. Washed down with a glass of pulpy fresh orange juice and a few tiny, tulip-shaped cups of strong, sweet tea, it adds up to a simple yet sustaining feast for the senses.

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