I was invited to Selçuk for the weekend and a sixty minute flight on Friday took me from Istanbul to Izmir down on Turkey’s Aegean coast. From there a car ride to the small town of Selçuk where my old friend lives more or less in the shadow of the landmark 6th Century Basilica of St John the Apostle while the town itself is dominated by the Grand Fortress on top of Ayasoluk Hill. Selçuk is very popular because of its proximity to the ancient city of Ephesus or Efes, the House of the Virgin Mary/Meryem Ana which attracts thousands of pilgrims annually, as well as glorious sandy beaches and a wealth of interesting places to see and visit. It’s a fabulous area. The remains of the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, are there! Imagine!
This is the story!
Nearby the ruins of the church and grotto under some trees is a small pleasant outdoor cafe. Nothing fancy: rustic wooden tables and chairs outside and local women inside preparing the food in the traditional way.
We found a sunny table as it was a bit nippy in the shade. Friend Frances recommended the gözleme, typical rural fare. The village women in Assos make them too but I have to admit, these were in a class of their own. Whereas ours are filled with white cheese and parsley, these were either patlıcan/aubergine or potato.
In the first picture the women are making mantı, often referred to as Turkish ravioli. The preparation is very time-consuming as you can imagine but if home-made, can be a feast if a bit fattening! But I doubt very much that today’s young Turkish women make it. It can be bought so easily. It is served in bowls with tomato sauce and garlic yogurt then sprinkled with dried mint and sumac. Here, the blue plastic is to stop the mantı from drying out.
Very often in a Turkish family, there will be a teyze or auntie whose speciality it is to make mantı. Our own Auntie Ümit was the one with the magic touch re mantı and an invitation from her was not to be turned down!