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, where you will visit Ephesus, one of Turkey’s largest ancient cities, and Pergamum, where parchment was invented. 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, Izmir, and Cappadocia.

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 visiting the old part of Istanbul. Visit the Topkapi Palace, once home to the great Sultans, and the famous Blue Mosque, built by Sultan Ahmet in 1609, where the interior walls are covered with 20,000 blue Iznik tiles.
  • Taste some of Turkey’s most known flavors during lunch at the Spice Bazaar, where the scent of hundreds of spices permeates the air.
  • Finally, see the Basilica of St. Sophia, which has inspired visitors and religious leaders for over fifteen hundred years.
  • Dinner on your own this evening.
  • Overnight in Istanbul.

Day 3 - Istanbul/Izmir

  • 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.
  • Transfer in the afternoon to Ataturk Airport for your flight to Izmir.
  • Dinner on your own and overnight.

Day 4 - Pergamum/Izmir

  • After breakfast, 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 today will be a demonstration class on the making of “pide,” or Turkish pizza. Watch the chef make small patties of dough, knead them like a wrestler, and then dress them with wonderful toppings before baking them in the wood-fired oven.
  • Dinner tonight at the hotel.
  • Overnight.

Day 5 - Ephesus/Izmir

  • 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 tonight at the hotel.
  • Overnight.

Day 6 - Urla/Cappadocia

  • Breakfast.
  • Enjoy a half-day trip to Urla, where you will visit a local market and a local bakery.
  • Lunch (on your own) in Urla.
  • This afternoon, visit a boutique vineyard for a tasting of organic Urla wines, whose history dates back to the 4th millenium B.C.!
  • Later, transfer to the Adnan Menders Airport for your flight to Kayseri.
  • Arrival in Cappadocia for dinner and overnight.

Day 7 - 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 on your own.
  • 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.”
  • Dinner and overnight in Cappadocia.

Day 8 - Cappadocia

  • In the early morning, you can enjoy an optional hot air balloon ride (for additional cost). It is a dream to float gently over the Cappadocia countryside in complete harmony with the fertile valleys and deep canyons.
  • After breakfast, discover a typical Turkish village, Avanos, where you will see the techniques of ceramic art that date back to between the 12th century B.C. and the 3rd century B.C.
  • Next, an interactive cooking workshop with an award-winning chef. Mustafa Buyukhan of the Lil’a Restaurant is known for the rich Anatolian and Cappadocian flavors of this food. Lunch to follow.
  • In the afternoon, visit the underground city of Kaymakli. Around the 6th century, the Christian inhabitants of the region began to tunnel into the soft volcanic rock, eventually creating a subterranean city two hundred seventy-five feet deep with eight different levels, large enough to house several thousand people.
  • Dinner tonight is included.
  • Overnight.

Day 9 - Cappadocia/Istanbul

  • After breakfast, fly to Istanbul.
  • Explore the old city and the famed Grand Bazaar, built in 1457, with time for lunch on your own.
  • Dinner tonight is included, and overnight in Istanbul.

Day 10 - Istanbul

  • After breakfast, transfer to the airport.