This morning with temperatures in Istanbul at a cold 2 degrees Celsius, I was sitting next to my beloved Bosphorus at the Dolmabahçe Palace wrapped up in a Pashmina keeping my hands and body warm with a cup of Salep.
Salep is a popular drink in the Winter in Turkey. This thick, creamy, hot aromatic milk is made from the root of the Salep plant, a kind of wild orchid. Like with alot of food in Turkey, men walk around in the street pushing these beautiful shiny copper pitchers on their carts. You stop them to buy a cup of Salep to warm you from the inside out on these cold winter days. Salep is known to be an effective remedy for sore throats, colds and upset tummies. It was also a popular beverage during the reign of the the Ottoman Empire.
Salep is like drinking pancakes from a cup. For my South African friends, it actually taste like Milktart in a cup. Creamy and custardy with a sprinkle of cinnamon. For those that doesn't know Milktart. It is a tart made in South Africa that consist of a pastry crust filled with a milky custardy mixture. It is baked in the oven and then dusted with cinnamon. You eat a slice of Milktart usually with a cup of coffee or tea or just for dessert.
Dolmabahçe – (Filled-in Garden) comes from the Turkish dolma meaning “filled” and bahçe meaning “garden.”
Dolmabahçe Palace served as the main administrative center of the Ottoman Empire and later on it was also the Summer home to Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, founder and first President of the Republic of Turkey. Atatürk spend the last days of his life in this palace where he died on 10 November 1938. It is a beautiful building that has been turned into a museum.
It is one of my favourite spots in Istanbul to stop for a cup of Çay or in the Winter, Salep, just to sit and watch the beautiful Bosphorus. I can see the Golden Horn meeting the Bosphorus with the Maiden Tower on my right and the Bosphorus bridge to my left. And like nowhere in the world, I would be sitting in Europe drinking my Salep, overlooking Asia on the other side. That is one thing that makes Istanbul extra special. I only have to get in my car or take a boat and within minutes I would be, from standing in Europe, to having a cup of Çay in Asia.
Leaving you with two beautiful Turkish words I've learned lately:
Canim Benim - It means 'My dearest'. You are my dear, my soul, my loved one..
Read a fellow Turkish bloggers beautiful blog called Canim Benim. http://canimbenim.blog.com/
I have been having problems uploading pictures onto my blog. So for the meanwhile I'm using Instagram. I hope to solve the problem soon.