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The Cuisine of Sultans

Enjoying the view on your cooking vacation in TurkeyYour 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, fly to Cappadocia, a city filled with natural wonders, in particular the fairy chimneys in the Goreme Valley.

During your stay in Turkey you will experience some of the world’s most delicious cuisine. Turkish gastronomy has been called a fusion of Central Asian, Eastern European, and Middle Eastern cuisines, and you can find influences from the Balkans as well as Western Europe. The food varies from region to region, but you will find delicious spices, stews, fish, kebabs, and grains such as bulgur and rice. Olive oil is a staple, as are fresh vegetables.

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

Latest Review

I gave this trip 5 stars
Trip taken September 2013
Our guide was terrific! What a great trip. Everything went so smoothly. The balloon ride was so nice. All of the visits were nice. Great food & classes.

Trip Details

Your culinary tour of Turkey will include 2 hands-on Turkish cooking lessons featuring local Turkish cuisine made with incredible fresh ingredients that are indigenous to each region.


The stunning Blue Mosque seen in your cooking vacation in TurkeyDay One

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

Family traditions seen on your cooking vacation in TurkeyDay Two

  • After breakfast, spend the morning visiting the old part of Istanbul, a UNESCO World Heritage site. 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.
  • Stop for lunch on your own during your tour, then head to the Basilica of St. Sophia, which has inspired visitors and religious leaders for over fifteen hundred years.
  • Dinner at a local restaurant is included.
  • Overnight in Istanbul.

Spice market in Istanbul visited on your culinary tour of TurkeyDay Three

  • After breakfast, spend the morning touring the spice bazaar, where the scents permeate the air, then proceed to a cooking class, lunch to follow based on your efforts.
  • This afternoon enjoy a cruise on the Bosphorus, with views of the Dolmabahce Palace and the Beylerbeyi Palace, a 19th-century jewel on the Asian side of Istanbul.
  • Dinner is included tonight. Overnight.

Cappadocia caves as seen on your culinary tour of TurkeyDay Four

  • After breakfast, transfer to the Istanbul Airport for your flight to Cappadocia (flight included).
  • Lunch on your own.
  • In Cappadocia explore Zelve, one of the most important settlements and religious centers of Christianity between the Ninth and Thirteenth Centuries.
  • On the way to your hotel, stop for a visit at a local wine producer to taste wines such as Okuzgozu, Kalecikkarasi, Narince, and Emir and explore a wine making heritage that goes back over 6000 years!
  • Dinner tonight is included.
  • Overnight.

Enjoying the view on your cooking vacation in TurkeyDay Five

  • 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 Six

  • 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 to learn about the Anatolian and Cappadocian flavors of this area’s 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.

Turkish coffee enjoyed on your cooking vacation in TurkeyDay Seven

  • Following breakfast, transfer to the airport. (Flight back to Istanbul not included but can be arranged on request, or you can connect through to another gateway city.)

Trip Details

Included in the 6-Night Trip


6 nights accommodation in 4* hotels (such as the Hotel Yasmak Sultan in Istanbul and the Yunak Evleri Cave Hotel in Cappadocia)

Food & Beverages

  • Daily breakfast
  • 2 lunches
  • 6 dinners

Classes & Instructors

Your culinary tour of Turkey will include 2 hands-on Turkish cooking lessons featuring local Turkish cuisine made with incredible fresh ingredients that are indigenous to each region.


  • Guided tours of Istanbul, including the Hagia Sofia and the Spice Bazaar
  • Bosphorus cruise
  • Visit of Zelve and Cappadocia winery
  • Guided tour of Cappadocia, including the Goreme Valley
  • Visit of Kaymakli underground city in Cappadocia

Transfer Details

  • Arrival transfer from Istanbul airport and to Cappadocia airport on departure.


  • Domestic flight from Istanbul to Cappadocia (return flight can be arranged on request if required)
  • Food tastings as per itinerary
  • English-speaking professional guide
  • Entrance fees
  • Baggage handling and tips at the hotels

Not Included

  • Beverages
  • Customary tips for the tour guide, the driver and the chefs of cooking classes. (Suggested amounts: $10 per day for tour guide, $7 per day for driver, $15 per person per class for cooking lessons).

Accommodation Information

In Istanbul: The Yasmak Sultan is a 4* hotel in the center of Istanbul. Recently renovated rooms feature a spacious layout, modern decor, en suite bath, room safe, air conditioning, minibar, coffee/tea maker, and hair dryers. The hotel also boasts a spa, indoor swimming pool, fitness center, Turkish bath, sauna, and rooftop restaurant.



In Cappadocia, the Yunak Evleri offers a historical atmosphere of a cave hotel but the comfort and warmth of a 4* hotel. The hotel has 46 rooms with elegant decor, marble floors, handcrafted lace curtains, traditional bedsteads, and more. The rooms are large and feature en suite bath, safe, minibar, heating system, TV, kettle, hairdryer, and more.



Pricing & Tour Dates

2022 Pricing:

6-night Program

US$3190 per person based on double occupancy

  • Add US$890 for single occupancy (use of a double room by 1 person)

30% deposit due to confirm booking.

Balance payment due 60 days prior to tour start date. Questions? Please contact us!

Note that prices include the domestic flight from Istanbul to Cappadocia. (Return flight to Istanbul can be arranged upon request.)

Please also note: additional pricing may apply during holidays and congresses.

Group of 4 or more? Please inquire for special pricing.

Interested in a longer tour? Let us know!

Tour Dates

Available any the following weeks for a minimum of 2 people. Other start dates also possible, please inquire. Please also note: additional pricing may apply during holidays and congresses.

January 2-8
January 9-15
January 16-22
January 23-29
January 30- February 5
February 6-12
February 13-19
February 20-26
February 27-March 5
March 6-12
March 13-19
March 20-26
March 27-April 2
April 3-9
April 10-16
April 17-23
April 24-30
May 1-7
May 8-14
May 15-21
May 22-28
May 29-June 4
June 5-11
June 12-18
June 19-25
June 26-July 2
July 3-9
July 10-16
July 17-23
July 24-30
July 31-August 6
August 7-13
August 14-20
August 21-27
August 28-September 3
September 4-10
September 11-17
September 18-24
September 25-October 1
October 2-8
October 19-15
October 16-22
October 23-29
October 30-November 5
November 6-12
November 13-19
November 20-26
November 27-December 3
December 4-10
December 11-17
December 18-24


I gave this trip 5 stars
Trip taken September 2013
Our guide was terrific! What a great trip. Everything went so smoothly. The balloon ride was so nice. All of the visits were nice. Great food & classes.
I gave this trip 5 stars
Trip taken May 2013
Turkey was a fantastic county to experience and The International Kitchen made it a wonderful adventure. There was so much to see and do, but also at least one day to relax in Kusadashi where we could enjoy the pool and the Aegean. A better Turkish guide could not have been found. She would share information about how people lived in 300 BC, and in the next breath answer our many questions about every day life modern in Turkey. I'm so glad we were able to travel to 3 distinct areas: Istanbul, the central Aegean coast and, in the center of Turkey, the Cappadocia region. The 2 cooking classes were in two very different setting: a culinary school and a working hotel kitchen. Both were instructive and had good selections of menu items representing the area. The staff at each place were so nice and accommodating. The hotel class did not provide written recipes, but the experience at such a gorgeous hotel by far made up for that. The Chicago staff was very prompt helpful. Of course, it was wonderful to have Karen on our trip. Her traveling experience and knowledge was very impressive. She always made sure we were well taken care of. Plus, she's fun!
I gave this trip 4 stars
Trip taken May 2013
One of my most enjoyable trips. I liked being with a small group. Our guide was wonderful. She made seeing all the important sites interesting and fun. Although I had been to Turkey many years ago, it was almost like being there for the first time. We stayed at good hotels. My only complaint was the food at the Kusadasi hotel. It was very mediocre. Our mini-buses were very comfortable. The highlight for me,was our visit to Cappadocia. It was almost like visiting another planet. The cooking lesson there was so much fun. Also great were the various stops at wineries. There was plenty of things to see and do. We each did what we felt interested in, without pressure.
I gave this trip 5 stars
Trip taken May 2013
Wonderful trip. Enjoyed the cooking classes and organized activities. Our guide Ayse was amazing and made the trip a wonderful experience.
No rating given with this review
I loved the sightseeing, which was my principal interest--especially the Topkapi Palace (including the Harem), Aya Sofia, Blue Mosque, Chora Church, Rustem Pasha Mosque in Istanbul. Also liked the Grand Bazaar, Spice Bazaar, and boat ride in Istanbul. Highlights outside Istanbul were the ruins at Pergamum and Ephesus, and just about everything we did in Cappadocia. Cappadocia was quite an experience, with the beautiful natural scenery, caves and early churches, and the very memorable hotel--a highlight was eating dinner outside watching the cave swallows fly by and having the light of a full moon! Another memorable moment was seeing all the balloons as we left our Cappadocia hotel for the airport. The internal flights all worked well, and I was glad that the arrangements enabled us to see a couple of other regions of Turkey besides Istanbul--although I could have used another couple of days in Istanbul, notwithstanding that we had added an extra day to our itinerary. The arrangements went smoothly, and our drivers and guide were very good (more about the guide below). Although shopping is not as important as sightseeing, I enjoyed the shopping too, including the stops at the carpet and ceramics places--whoever selected those places did a good job. I would suggest for future trips that you make it clear that certain parts are pretty strenuous. Not everybody may be up for climbing to see ruins and caves. I did everything except on one day when I wasn't feeling well, but it was tough for the people on the trip who were older than I was. However, the flexibility of a small group was helpful--people who didn't want to do something were able to stay at the hotel and find other things to do, or rest someplace and rejoin the group later. One of the things I liked best, in fact, was the small group. And having such a good guide (Ayse) added greatly to the trip. She was extremely knowledgeable as well as warm and friendly. I would be happy to go on another trip guided by Ayse. While cooking is not my main interest, the cooking lessons were enjoyable, although the second one (in Cappadocia) should have had pre-printed recipes available for us. The most memorable meals were the welcome dinner at Bursa Restaurant and the lunch at Lil'a in Cappadocia. The dinners at the hotel in Cappadocia were memorable not only for the food but for the setting. Some people didn't like the buffet at the hotel in Kusadosi, but I did--it was nice to have choices and a break from the 4 and 5 course meals, even though I really enjoyed those meals too. The resort at Kusadosi was pleasant but not spectacular as resorts go. However, it was a good choice, being well-located for the excursions we took--and it also was near a town that had food and shopping options. The handling of the tips was a little confusing. Toward the beginning of the trip we were asked to pay the tips in advance, which we did, and then twice toward the end of the trip we were asked for extra money to increase the size of the pool. I actually gave my additional money directly to Ayse because she had been very nice to me when I wasn't feeling well and I wanted to recognize that in person. Taking this trip was not only enjoyable in itself but also gave me a great appreciation of the history of Turkey as well as its present-day situation. It was truly an educational trip. The International Kitchen made very fine arrangements and choices, and I appreciated the ability to add extra things to our itinerary. Mauri O., MD
No rating given with this review
This was a fantastic trip! Turkey is an exotic, complex and completely fascinating country. Every element of the trip was great; the hotels, excursions, guide and driver (new, comfortable vehicles), meals and cooking classes. It exceeded my expectations in every way and I give the trip my highest recommendation! Karen H., IL

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