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Gourmet Tours of Turkey    |   

Gourmet Tours of Turkey

Istanbul – Aegean Coast 

Day 1 / Arrival to Istanbul

Arrival to Istanbul. Met by your tour guide at the airport and transfer to your boutique hotel in Sultan Ahmet. Istanbul.

Day 2 / Professional Cooking Class & sight seeing   

 After breakfast in the hotel the group meets at the lobby to go to cooking course in Alaturca Restaurant. Before that, they will have a visit to Sultan Ahmet Mosque famous for its striking Blue Iznik tiles. At  10:30 am at the cooking Alaturka Restaurant just off the Hippodrome behind Blue Mosque, for a coffee and general introduction to Turkish cuisine.

By 11:00 am the group is in the special culinary-course mutfak ( kitchen). The group is ready to help the Turkish master Chef to prepare the midday meal using the best seasonal market ingredients. Step by step the group will learn and produce a delicious and varied collection of dishes. As soon as all is ready the group will be ready for a sit down lunch and enjoy their handiwork with genial comments and comparisons all around. “Afiyet olsun” meaning enjoy your meal in Turkish  

After lunch the group will continue with walking tour of Sultan Ahmet, visiting Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace before returning back to the hotel. Free time for dinner. Overnight in Istanbul  B,L  

Day 3 / Home cooking and local market shopping 

After breakfast in the hotel, the group will meet in the lobby and with their guide take a local ferry to across the Asian side of Istanbul to one of the oldest centers of Istanbul. Kuzguncuk –Uskudar. Kuzguncuk is a neighborhood in the Üsküdar district on the Asian side of the Bosporus in Istanbul. The neighborhood is centered on a valley opening to the Bosporus and is somewhat isolated from the rest of the city, being surrounded by nature preserves, cemeteries;   it is a quiet neighborhood with streets lined with antique wooden houses. In the past, it was the home of many Jewish, Armenian, and Greek Istanbulites and very few Muslims. Today is going to be an interesting day for the group, because the cooking is going to be done in a typical Turkish house in Kuzguncuk. You will meet your Turkish host in Kuzguncuk and shop with her/him from the local markets in Kuzguncuk. There is going to be a street bazaar on Wednesdays ( so it’s better to do this on Wednesdays) After shopping in the local market the group will move to their Turkish host’s house to prepare the food together with her/him.

The lunch will be served in the house with the help of everyone actively taking part in the process of preparation. After lunch Turkish coffee is served. And the group leaves the house to continue a tour in the Asian side of Istanbul. First Beylerbeyi Palace will be visited. This was the summer residence of the Ottoman Sultans. After Beylerbeyi Palace the group will continue to drive in the Bosporus stripe all the way to Beykoz, and will have a stopover in the picturesque Dilruba Park for a tea and coffee break and a photograph opportunity. On the way back visit Leander’s Tower in Salacak and the picture opportunity facing Topkapi Palace.

For dinner we will be back to Kuzguncuk to have a seafood dinner in one of the most nostalgic restaurants of Istanbul. “Ismet Baba” Restaurant established in 1951 by fruit seller Ismet and is now managed by third generation of his family is now considered a land mark. After dinner take the ferry back to European side to return back to the hotel  B,L ,D  

Day 4/ Taste of Imperial Menu for lunch and Vine Tasting Dinner 

After breakfast the group will meet at the lobby to start a full day city tour. The tour will start in the historical spice market; this will be a great opportunity to shop for spices and other ingredients which the group has learned from their cooking experiences. After spice market, Suleymaniye Mosque is visited before proceeding to Fatih to visit Chora church which is known for its world famous 12th century mosaics. Just adjacent to Chora Church there is a well known Asitane Restaurant which is the only gourmet restaurant in Istanbul which is specialized in the 16th century imperial Ottoman cooking. The perfect place to taste this long forgotten culinary dishes in the peaceful garden of the Kariye Hotel’s Asitane Restaurant. The group will have a perfect five course  lunch here, and for each dish there will be an explanation by the chef the history of the dish as well as how it was prepared.

After lunch the group will be taken back to Sultan Ahmet and will be given a free time.

In the evening at 19:30 the group will meet in the lobby to be taken to a wine tasting culinary experience to one of the leading restaurants of the city. One of the well known wine makers “Doluca” will provide its best award winning wines with a perfect menu to go with it. This sample menu below is an example :

-Goat cheese salad and Chardonnay – (wine Narince )

-Asparagus Risotto and Merlot – (wine Bogazkere )

-Veal steak fillet wrapped inside red pepper skin served with potato gratin, vegetables and thyme sauce and  Cabernet Sauvignon – ( wine  Okuzgozu)

-Bitter chocolate & raspberry cake with vanilla ice-cream and Safir (sweet wine)

-Karma Chardonnay – Narince 2008: Narince is one of the highest qualities, local grapes in Turkey. This white wine is the first blend of the Karma series. It is easy to drink and has a strong flavor.

-Karma Merlot – Bogazkere 2008: Easy to drink and fruity. Bogazkere grape is a bit like Cabarnet grape in the sense that it has the same tannic structure.

Challenge International du Vin 2005 – Bronze (France)
Vinalies Internationales 2004 – Silver (France)
Challenge International du Vin 2004 – Silver (France)

-Karma Cabernet Sauvignon – Okuzgozu 2007: tannic, strong and with a lasting flavor. Dominant flavors are vanilla and cinnamon

This wine has won several medals in international competitions: Vinalies Internationales 2009 – Silver (France)
Challenge International du Vin 2006 – Silver (France)
Vinalies Internationales 2005 – Silver (France)
Challenge International du Vin 2005 – Bronze (France)
Vinalies Internationales 2004 – Gold (France)

-Karma Shiraz – Bogazkere 2007: Fruity, tanic and strong. Flavored like coffee, nuts, dried plum. Has won: Challenge International du Vin 2007 – Bronze (France)
Syrah du Monde 2008 – Silver (France)

-Safir: Name comes from Sapphire. Have a sweet, yet lemon like flavor.

Doluca is a very well known and good local brand. They have a lot of good knowledge about what the business, the soil and the grapes. This might be an interesting experience if you wish to get to know local wine better.

After dinner return back to the hotel. Overnight in Istanbul  B,L,D 

Day 5 /Aegean Cooking 

After breakfast in the hotel, take the early morning flight to Izmir. Upon arrival to Izmir transfer to Ephesus and start the day visiting important sights in Ephesus including Temple of Artemis, and the House of Virgin Mary    In the late afternoon transfer to picturesque village of Sirince and check in to Nisanyan Houses. Nisanyan Houses are located on top of the hill in Sirince overlooking to a beautiful valley. The group will settle in private village houses of Nisanyan each house having their own kitchen. In this location the group will learn about Aegean way of cooking, which consists of many different vegetables cooked in olive oil. There will be a chef who will be cooking the first day for the group with the help of the group, and the dinner will be served in the beautiful garden in Nisanyan House. Overnight in Sirince  B,L,D 

Day 6/Natural preserves, herbs and healing 

After breakfast, the chef will arrive to Žirince Nisanyan Houses, the group will have a 1,5 hour group lesson to show them the most effective way of using herbs and how to use them for healing purposes. After this the group will move to have a more sightseeing to Priene, Milletos and Diydma. Return back to Sirince. Free time for dinner. Overnight in Sirince B,L 

Day 7/ Time to cook by yourselves

After breakfast the chef will arrive to Nisanyan Houses to give each group a recipe and the necessary ingredients   to produce the lunch and each group is own their own to cook the menu for the lunch. Over lunch each group will be rated before flying back to Istanbul. Farewell dinner in local restaurant in Istanbul.  B,L,D 

Day 8 – After breakfast the group is taken back to airport. End of services. 

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