Turkish cuisine is characterised by its rich variety, unique delicacies and different cheeses produced in different regions. The rich biodiversity created by the unique climate of different areas of Turkey is the basis of these flavours.
“White cheese: From Edirne to Çanakkale
“White cheese is a staple of Turkish breakfasts and a popular delicacy in the country. Produced in almost every region of the country, its taste, aroma and texture vary according to climate, origin and production method. Best enjoyed with crispy simit bread or with melon, rakı and starters, its exceptional taste and aroma from the milk of cows, sheep or goats will make you want to try it in every region you visit.
Balıkesir: Home to 50 different cheeses
The multicultural make-up of the town, the products made from different types of milk and the variety of production methods have made this region a real “cheese paradise”. Kelle cheese, made with different types of milk and techniques, is famous in all regions of this beautiful city on the Marmara-Aegean border. Sepet (basket) cheese, made from sheep and goat milk, Tulum cheese, which is pickled in brine, and Lor (curd) cheese, made from whey, are also recognised as Turkey’s most delicious cheeses.
Mihaliç cheese has been produced in Turkey for centuries. Unlike white cheese, its production is limited to a few areas of the country, including Balıkesir. Mihaliç cheese is usually made from goat’s or cow’s milk and is stored in brine before being hardened and dried. Because of its pungent, salty taste, it is used in pasta and salads, and in the summer is eaten with almonds, dried fruit and watermelon.
Moldy cheeses from the Cappadocia region
Niğde blue mould cheese from the famous city of Cappadocia is one of Turkey’s most unique cheeses. It is stored in caves 15 metres deep where it is left to mature for seven months. During this time it takes on a distinctive flavour and blue colour, and also acts as a natural antibiotic. It is commonly eaten at breakfast, especially in omelettes.
Another traditional cave-aged cheese is Karaman’s Divle Obruk. Made from the milk of sheep and goats that graze on plateaus and grasslands rich in medicinal herbs, this cheese has been produced for almost 700 years and is often enjoyed in hot and cold breakfast sandwiches. After five months in caves with a unique mould flora, the cheese is covered with blue, then white and finally red mould.
Konya is another city in the region known for its mould cheese. With its centuries-old history and flavour, Konya moldy cheese is made using only milk and yeast and is moulded in special rooms. Once given to Ottoman soldiers as an antibiotic, this cheese is served in omelettes and with pancakes.
Exceptional tastes of the East: A true cheese paradise
The East Anatolian region is famous for its unique cheeses, such as Erzincan Tulum cheese, Kars Kaşarı cheese and Van’s Herby cheese. These cheeses are particularly tasty as they are produced in the high plateau areas where there is a rich variety of plants and fresh, cool air.
Erzincan Tulum cheese is made with raw milk and natural yeast. After being pressed for 2-3 months and stored in goat or sheepskin, it is ready to be enjoyed on rucola salads or warm Turkish bread.
Kars Kaşarı, made from the milk of cows grazing in the fields surrounding the town, is a geographically designated product that can take up to 10 months to mature. It is often eaten spread on toast, in omelettes or grated over homemade tomato soup.