Turkish Cooking School Vacation: The Cuisine of Sultans
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The Cuisine of Sultans
Istanbul, Cappadocia, Izmir, Kusadasi

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About the location: Your cooking vacation begins in Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city and the economic and cultural mecca of Turkey. Immediately delight your senses with a trip to the famous Spice Bazaar, one of the oldest bazaars in the city. Next, journey to Izmir and Kusadasi, on the Aegean coast. In Kusadasi, visit Ephesus, one of Turkey’s largest ancient cities. From there, you will fly to Cappadocia, a city filled with natural wonders, in particular the fairy chimneys in the Goreme Valley. Finally, return to Istanbul where you will explore the village of Avanos, and the Basilica Cistern, which is the largest surviving Byzantium Cistern.

Accommodations will be at charming 4-star hotels offering all the modern comforts in Istanbul, Cappadocia, and Kusadasi.

Chef in TurkeyAbout the cooking lessons: Your culinary tour of Turkey will include two hands-on Turkish cooking lessons. Each class features local Turkish cuisine made with incredible fresh ingredients that are indigenous to each region.

This tour includes a lot of walking and climbing, and we recommend that you be in reasonably good physical condition.

The Cuisine of Sultans Itinerary

Day 1 - Istanbul

  • Arrival in Istanbul.
  • Meet and greet at Ataturk airport and transfer to your hotel.
  • Enjoy a welcome dinner in a local restaurant.
  • Overnight.

Day 2 - Istanbul

  • After breakfast, spend the morning touring the local market.
  • Visit the Istanbul Culinary Institute for your first hands-on cooking class, which will focus on contemporary Turkish cuisine.
  • Lunch to follow based on your efforts.
  • In the afternoon, the sightseeing continues at Chora Church with its amazing frescos and the spice bazaar, where the scent of hundreds of spices permeate the air.
  • Dinner on your own this evening.
  • Overnight in Istanbul.

Day 3 - Istanbul

  • Breakfast.
  • Your sightseeing tour today is focused on the oldest part of the city with a visit to Topkapi Palace, once home to the great Sultans; the unique Blue Mosque built in 1609 by Sultan Ahmet, where the interior walls are covered with 20,000 blue Iznik tiles; the Hippodrome and Basilica of St. Sophia, which has inspired religious leaders for over 1500 years; and the Grand Bazaar, which was built in 1457. During the tour, stop for lunch.
  • Dinner on your own.
  • Overnight in Istanbul.

Day 4 - Istanbul, Pergamum, Kusadasi

  • After breakfast, transfer to the airport for a morning flight to Izmir.
  • Then head north to Pergamum, once ruled by Alexander the Great. Famous for the invention of parchment paper, Pergamum had a library containing 200,000 books.
  • Lunch and dinner is included today.
  • Overnight in Kusadasi.

Day 5 - Kusadasi

  • After breakfast, visit Ephesus, one of Turkey’s largest ancient cities. Once populated with 300,000 people, it has an enormous amphitheater that can still hold 24,000 spectators. As you walk down the marble covered streets, see gymnasiums, bath houses, public latrines, the library of Celsus, and the Temple of Artemis.
  • After lunch at a local organic restaurant, continue to the House of the Virgin Mary, where it is believed she spent her final days.
  • Dinner.
  • Overnight in Kusadasi.

Day 6 - Kusadasi

  • Breakfast.
  • Today’s full-day excursion includes the major sites of Priene, Miletus, and Didyma. Built in 334 B.C. on the slopes of Mount Mycale, Priene is a spectacular site. Discover the Temple of Athena, the 5,000 seat Hellenistic Theatre, and gaze out to the sea from the top of the Acropolis.
  • Stops are also made in Miletus and Didyma to see the theatres, agora, baths, and the Temple of Apollo – the third largest temple in the ancient Greek world.
  • Lunch and dinner included.
  • Overnight in Kusadasi.

Day 7 - Kusadasi, Izmir, Cappadocia

  • After breakfast, the day begins at Sevilen Winery to test their wines, some of which have Gold Decanter awards. In 1942, after discovering vineyards and winemaking in France, Mr. Isa Guner, a first-generation immigrant from Bulgaria, founded his own winery in Izmir. Winemaking techniques are very modern in Turkey, and all the grapes are hand-harvested.
  • Lunch on your own.
  • Fly to Kayseri and take a 1-hour transfer to the delightful region of Cappadocia.
  • Dinner included.
  • Overnight in Cappadocia.

Day 8 - Cappadocia

  • Following breakfast, today’s sightseeing tour will begin in the hidden monastic valley of Pasabagi, where there are varieties of carved rock houses and churches.
  • Next, visit a local municipality carpet cooperation — like a carpet farm — where you will get the chance to explore the district from a cultural perspective.
  • Lunch.
  • In the afternoon, discover the fascinating Goreme Valley, where for over thousands of years the rain has eroded the landscape to give rise to strange lunar-like formations known as “Fairy Chimneys.”
  • Lastly, visit Zelve, one of the most important religious centers for the Christian community between the ninth and thirteenth centures. This monastery complex, carved into rock, was the refuge of Christians during the Persian and Arab invasions.
  • Dinner and overnight in Cappadocia.

Day 9 - Cappadocia

  • After breakfast, discover the underground city of Kaymakli. Around the 6th century the Christian inhabitants of this region began to tunnel into the soft volcanic rock. As deep as 275 feet with eight different levels, several thousand people lived in this subterranean city.
  • Next, join a hands-on cooking class with the international award-winning chef of the Lil’a Restaurant, Mustafa Buyukhan. Lunch to follow.
  • In the afternoon, visit the Turkish village of Avanos to see the techniques of ceramic art that dates from the 12th B.C. to the 3rd B.C. periods.
  • Dinner and overnight in Cappadocia.
  • (You may add an optional hot air balloon ride, where you’ll gently float over the fertile valleys of Cappadocia, to the day’s activities for an additional cost.)

Day 10 - Cappadocia

  • After breakfast, transfer to the Kayseri airport for your departure flight (connect in Istanbul to return home).