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- A practical guide to Cappadocia
Street markets in Turkey are one of the greatest pleasures and attractions for locals and for tourists, with their bright colours and delicious mingled scents. The herb and spices stalls always attract me by the wonderful glowing rich colours of paprika, cumin, saffron, cloves, mustard seeds, fenugreek, cardamom and ginger and their heady, enticing fragrances. Strings of dried vegetables - aubergines, peppers, tomatoes and okra can also be seen.
All sorts of dried herbs, flowers, pods, and seeds are on sale for spicing food, making seed teas or planting in the garden. In the springtime you'll find a corner of the market selling pot plants and flowers.
Fruit and vegetables in Turkey are of a particularly high standard, locally produced and seasonal, acquiring their unique taste from an abundance of sun and traditional ways of cultivation and transportation.
Spring will start with strawberries, followed by green plums, cherries and apricots. Summer is marked by peaches, watermelons and melons; then all kinds of grapes ripen in late summer, followed by green and purple figs, plums, apples, pears and quince. Oranges, mandarin oranges, and all kinds of citrus fruits and bananas are among the winter fruits.
On the market you will also find dried fruit like dates, luscious figs, sweet sun-dried apricots, raisins, sultanas and currants and all sorts of nuts : hazelnuts, walnuts, pine-nuts, cashews and the pistachios Turkey is rightly famous for. In Cappadocia you will find pekmez: grape molasses used like golden syrup or mixed with flour or fine bulgur to make a chewy dessert rather like Turkish Delight.
But the market is not just limited to fruit and vegetables - here you can wander round the stalls and find fresh cheese and yogurt brought down from the villages where the cows roam freely on the mountain pastures, goat's cheese, olives of all colours and shapes, fresh honeycomb, fresh farm eggs ...
But also all sorts of textile, household goods, plastic buckets, knifes and ladles, pots and pans, livestock and leeches (yes, live leeches for medicinal purposes only!)
Wander round, taste, enjoy, breathe in the cheerful atmosphere of market day in Cappadocia!
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