Last week I had the pleasure of experiencing one of the most delightful evenings of my life. An intimate Turkish tea party at the home of everyone’s darling, Moshe Aeylon.
As soon as I stepped into Moshe’s home I was struck by the genius of this man and his conception of the most perfect, warm and welcoming ambiance. The stunning table beckoned one to sit down and eat. We were greeted with the most delicious drink made with pomegranate juice and Prosecco. There were twelve of us, and I did not know many … yet it did not matter because the whole setting was designed to put you at ease.
Moshe and his cooking partner, Hayganush, had prepared tons of wonderful Turkish delicacies for us to savor. It looked like they may have slaved over the stove for hours and we all felt so very grateful for that.
Did you know that Turkish tea is cooked for hours with the end result of deeply rich flavors?
Conversation leaned towards life and food culture in Turkey and how Turkish people love their tea as well as the wonderful ritual that accompanies it. Tea is a time to celebrate friends and family.
It is something to lovingly plan and then eagerly look forward to.
In savory choices, we sampled Sigara Boregi (cigar pastry filled with beef sausage and pepper), Quiche with spinach and goat cheese, Turkish Tabbouleh, Egg salad and olive paste canapés, Dolma (rice stuffed grape leaves), Taramasalata (Turkish black olives) and finally feta, tomato, green pepper and chive towers. I was struck by how each dish was so distinct in flavor - a perfect spread for kinds of savory cravings.
As if that was not enough, Moshe and Hayganush went all out in their generous preparations of sweet delights. A decadent almond tart anchored the whole table setting, and we could not wait to bite into it. It was so worth the wait with perfect sweetness, and really soft and flaky texture. We were all so happy to see Halva, the one dish we all knew about and hoped we would savor that evening. We enjoyed Kurabiye (powdered sugar covered butter cookies). These reminded me of Mexican wedding cookies. The Melomakarona (Greek honey cookies with walnuts) were to die for. They were so moist and nutty. Grandma Ester’s Braided Vanilla Cookies with green bitter orange jam was delightful as I bit into it and the orange rind hit my palate. I loved how that delicate tangy bitterness worked so well with the sweet notes.
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