This is how it all began...
My name is Ági Tóth. I first travelled to Turkey and fell in love with the country, its culture and cuisine. Between 2010-2015, with my friend Ildikó Rüll, I organized the Turkish Café Evenings, the first regular event series that introduced Turkish culture to local audiences. Afterwards, for two and a half years, I worked as a Cultural Coordinator at the Yunus Emre Turkish Cultural Institute, where I had a chance to learn the Turkish language as well.
I decided to launch my Nar Gourmet blog which became the first authentic Turkish gastro blog in Hungary. Nar is a Turkish word, it stands for pomegranate. In my posts, besides talking about unique recipes, I also shared with my readers Turkish gastronomic stories including information about the ingredients, types of local dishes as well as eating habits. In addition, for two years, I was a regular guest writer for the Hungarian edition of BBC Goodfood magazine. Due to the growing interest, many other services have been added to the writing over the years and at the end of 2018, blogging has finally taken over by cooking and event organizing. You can read about these additional new activities of mine under the different menus of the main page.
Why Turkish Gastronomy?
Why? The response is easy. But the response has many answers starting with the word because. Because fresh orange juice from Turkish street vendors has the most beautiful yellow I have ever seen. Because the foam on a latte made by the best barista is not as perfect as the foam on a fresh ayran (salty yogurt drink). Because if you are ever ’slapped on the face’ by the smell of fresh fish sandwich sold at the seafood market in Istanbul, you will never forget that experience. Because the scent of freshly baked simit (sesame ring) bought on the crowded streets of Istanbul at dawn is the finest pastry scent for me. Because none of the raviolis I have tried in my life was as delicious as the mantı (stuffed pasta bun with yogurt and paprika butter poured over it) made by a friend of mine in Cappadocia. Because there is no other desserts in which the sugar syrup and the melted cheese make such a perfect match as in künefe, which is a type of sweets made of vermicelli in syrup and unsalted cheese. Because it was in Istanbul where I ate the first dessert in my life that was made of chicken breast. Because I think the coolest fast food is kumpir, whole baked potatoes stuffed with vegetables, mayonnaise salad and frankfurters. Because never in my life have I seen such amazing and enormous roasted chestnuts like on İstiklal Caddesi in Istanbul. Because the deep red Turkish tea stops the time for everyone and allows them to sit on a little bench and do nothing special just look at people on the streets for hours. Because I cannot imagine much better things than having a typical Turkish breakfast for hours and hours. Because for the true Gaziantep pistachio baklava the right description is not that it is ’way too sweet’ but on the contrary, it is absolutely divine. Because no rainbow is as beautiful in color as the thousands of spices on the stands of the Spice Bazaar. Well, these are my many answers for the question of ’Why Turkish Gastronomy?’
Oh, yes, and one more thing before I forget.
Because my mission is to have more and more people discover that Turkish cuisine means much more than just döner and baklava!
alias Nar Gourmet