This is a private and very special excursion, designed only for food enthusiasts who want to spice up their culinary repertoire with a hint of Anatolia.
This 8 day tour takes you on a journey from Istanbul and along the Aegean Coast of Turkey, which has been home to many civilizations who have left their trace on the Culinary Heritage of the area. Experience the authentic and delicious cuisine of Turkey by tasting, sampling, shopping, picking, cooking and sharing…
Joan "Janan" Sozen began her four decades deep odyssey in Turkey as a bride welcomed into a family of Istanbul. Janan taught History of Furniture and Interiors at University and retired to spend more time in Turkey, precisely in the Greek Anatolian Village of Eski Doganbey located in the Peninsula National Park south of Kusadasi.
"I have welcomed guests from Japan to San Francisco and everyone has asked me about olives and the orchard, harvesting and pressing, about soap making and about sourdough bread baking in our beehive oven. With this spirit of discovery as our guide, please come and explore life in and around our village, with an emphasis on our own and local food productions and tastes!"
7 May 2016, Saturday (D)
Welcome to Istanbul! Today is your arrival day and a private car along with a Unison Turkey representative will meet you at the airport and escort you to your boutique hotel, located in the heart of the Old City, and only a few minutes walking distance from the famous Byzantine era great church of Hagia Sophia, now a museum.
This evening you will meet your tour leader Janan Sozen, and the rest of the group for a “Welcome Dinner”.
Armada Terrace Restaurant: Executive Chef Huseyin Sener will meet us for a chef’s presentation before indulging into amazing dishes from Ottoman and Turkish cuisine.
8 May 2016, Sunday (B,D)
Enjoy an immense spread of traditional Turkish breakfast in your hotel.
After breakfast, Janan will take us through the narrow streets of Spice Market (aka Egyptian Bazaar) on a foodie walk. We will lose ourselves among rare spices, Turkish delights, baklavas, Turkish Coffee sellers and even delicatessen specialties.
Lunch and afternoon are free at your leisure.
For those who are game, a walk through the narrow and vibrant backstreets, up to the Grand Bazaar is recommended.
In the evening we meet at the hotel and drive to Asian side of Istanbul, for a delicious dinner in a traditional Turkish style Meyhane (drink house).
Inciralti Meyhanesi: This is one of the best preserved traditional Meyhanes of Istanbul. Still serving long forgotten mezes along with Turkish national alcoholic drink, Raki (lion’s milk)
9 May 2016, Monday (B,L,D)
We will depart our hotel after the breakfast; we are invited to the kitchen of Karakoy Gulluoglu where we will learn the secrets of famous Turkish dessert “baklava”. During the workshop, we will witness the preparation stage of this delicious dessert and taste various kinds of it while learning how to distinguish a good baklava from bad.
After the sweet baklava workshop, we will head over to Nisantasi for our tasting lunch in Kantin with chef owner Semsa Denizsel.
We will have a chance to see Kantin’s specialty foods in production including the fragrant whole wheat sourdough bread and other baked goods, foods and drinks that are sold in their shops.
Kantin Cafe’s aim is to provide freshly cooked fine food, based on the heritage of Istanbul which is a melting pot of cultures, thanks to Greeks, Armenians, Jews and Turks who have all contributed to this food culture throughout history.
The most important aspect in Kantin is the quality of ingredients, only used in their season, and the ingredients careful preparation under the careful eye of Semsa Denizsel who has been called by her colleagues the Alice Waters of Turkey, a moniker no one can take casually!
We will also visit the downstairs in Kantin, where the chef, Bayram Usta will have some things underway to show us. The Kantin deli and take away shop is chock full of cakes and bakes; Semsa's whole wheat sourdough bread, jams for breakfast, crax for drinks, and cornbread made with cream and dill!!!
The most important ingredient in the Kantin repertoire is, without doubt, the sourdough starter!
After lunch, Janan will take you for a walk around the high end shopping district of Istanbul, Nisantasi. Istanbul’s most celebrated and upscale shopping neighbourhood, Nişantaşı is home to Turkey’s leading department stores and to a huge array of international and local brands.
Also stop by for a half hour concert of Mehter Band – Ottoman Military Band with their 50 performers in their Original Ottoman costumes with native Ottoman instruments at 3 o’clock. The band influenced composers like Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, or Mozart. The music called A la Turca originates from their music. The concert is in the Military Museum of the New Town, which houses superb collection of Ottoman arms, flags, banners, helmets, models and miniatures.
We will then head to Janan's upscale Nisantasi apartment, where we will enjoy a light supper of Borek of which Janan will be talking about its variations! We will have an informal wine tasting and also try whatever has caught our eye in KANTIN's Deli.
Sit back and relax for the rest of the evening.
10 May 2016, Tuesday (B,L,D)
After an early breakfast, you will be transferred to the airport for a 1-hour flight to Izmir.
Upon arrival in Izmir, our private transport will take us to Selcuk, where we will meet a very special person, Frances Ergen. Frances is an English lady who has lived in Selcuk for many years and speaks fluent Turkish. She is an expert on textiles and works with village women to preserve their handwork skills such as Oya, Turkish needle lace. After lunch, Frances will also accompany us to visit Can Carpet. This is an atelier located in Camlik village. Here, we will learn about the art of extracting colors from plants and roots to dye wool.
For resting in the afternoon, we arrive at Yedibilgeler Vineyards. Enjoy a leisurely afternoon by the swimming pool.
For dinner, a feast will be prepared for us with the produce of the winery’s own garden along with their reserve wines.
Yedibilgeler Vineyards - Yedi Bilgeler (the Seven Sages Winery) incorporates a winery, hotel, and restaurant in one complex. You will experience a very fine example of a boutique winery and have the chance to see the production area with its tanks, and the storage cellars with oak barrels and bottled wines.
Tonight, we will stay overnight at the beautifully decorated rooms of the Yedibilgeler Vineyard.
11 May 2016, Wednesday (B,L,D)
After a refreshing Aegean breakfast in the winery you will join a small group and head to Ephesus for a tour of the ancient city with a local tour guide. Ephesus is probably the best combination of Greek, Roman and Byzantine civilizations. With the mythological stories and spectacular ruins you will feel the life in the ancient city. See the Fountains of Trojan, Polio, the Temples of Hadrian and Domition, the Private Houses, the Library of Celsius, Various and Scholastic Baths, Bouloterion and the Great Theatre with capacity of 24,000 spectators. Prepare to be amazed!
St John’s Cafe is awaiting us for lunch today. Their iced espresso and black mulberry ice cream are amazing treats.
For the afternoon, we are visiting Sirince, formerly a Greek village reverting to Turkey after the exchange of populations in 1924.Here we will visit local ladies expert in knitting & crocheting their wares & knowledgeable in the use of natural ingredients used for herbal remedies. We will be invited to sample the locally made fruit wine.
We are then heading to Eskidoganbey Village. This is the Turkish hometown for Janan Sozen, where we will reside for the rest of our program, inside the elegantly decorated stone houses.
Supper is in the Olive House Garden, prepared by Janan's helpers who use the local ingredients and our special recipes.
12 May 2016, Thursday (B,L,D)
Today we explore the important ancient Ionian cities of Miletus and Didyma with its stunning Temple of Apollo along the Aegean Coast. Miletus was one of the principal Ionian cities and is well preserved with a grand theatre and Faustina Baths.
Lunch is in Kapikiri Village at the family run Agora Pension.
Agora Pension Their menu contains completely homemade food, mainly olive oil dishes with regional herbs, and salads prepared with herbs collected from the environment and cooked with their own organic olive oil and served in the garden.
In the afternoon, we are visiting Lake Bafa, which was once connected to the Aegean Sea. Lake Bafa is a national park that is home to birds like the Dalmatian pelican, fish eagle, common tern, pygmy cormorant and heron while the lake itself is populated by the famous eels, Bafa grey mullet, sea bass and sea bream. Wild boar, foxes, wild cats, hedgehogs and badgers all inhabit the surrounding Latmos Mountains. We will visit Kapikiri Village and Herakleia, which is an ancient site that has been inhabited since the prehistoric ages.
For dinner tonight, we are taking a small journey to the sea side, Karina, to sample the seafood along with wine. Dip your toes into the Aegean.
13 May 2016, Friday (B,L,D)
Breakfast & Bread making in the village this morning. Enjoy the fresh tomatoes, goat cheese and eggs produced daily along with freshly baked bread.
While enjoying the village, Joan will cook for us while explaining the essentials of Turkish home cooking. Feel free to join in and get your hands dirty.
After lunch and some rest, we will take a walking tour around the village. Eskidoganbey is a part of Dilek National Park and famous with its very well preserved houses. Our tour will include a visit to Emel Aksoy's exquisite Turkish costume collection.
Relax for the afternoon and enjoy Jazz music along with wine in the garden in the afternoon.
For dinner, we are heading to a local, family run restaurant with an amazing sunset. Janan is preparing a sweet “farewell” for everyone.
14 May 2016, Saturday (B,L,D)
After breakfast, and our good byes we will return by coach to Izmir and fly back to Istanbul.
Our client guests may:
Book an afternoon flight back home to connect with the domestic flight from Izmir.
Extend their stay in Istanbul or other parts of Turkey. Please contact Unison Turkey staff and we will be happy to help with arrangements.
Per person in DBL: $2250
Single Room Supplement: $259
Tour Price Includes:
- Companion of Janan Sozen as a tour curator and tour leader
- Arrival airport transfer
- 3 nights accommodation in boutique style Dosso Dossi Hotel in Istanbul
- 1 night accommodation in Yedibilgeler Vineyards in Selcuk
- 3 nights accommodation in stone houses of Eskidoganbey Village
- All transport with a deluxe vehicle
- All sightseeings as mentioned in the itinerary
- Meals as stated in the itinerary (B: Breakfast, L: Lunch, D: Dinner) - 7 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 7 dinners
- Services of a professional local tour guide during Ephesus tour
- Thecompany of Frances Ergen in Selcuk
- Entrance fees for museums and sights included in the itinerary
- 2 domestic flights between Istanbul - Izmir
- Service charges, parking fees, 18% VAT
Tour Price Does Not Include:
- International Flights
- Tips for guides and drivers
- Personal Expenses
- Hi gorgeous. Have I told you today that you are wonderful. We have had such a sensational holiday, thanks to your itinerary. We have travelled many, many times to most of the major countries in the world and the past 2 weeks have been a highlight of all our travel and we still have 2 weeks to go. Would you please reserve a table at Rami Restaurant on the evening of 24th so we can thank you in person and tell you all about our wonderful adventure. Cheers. Tony Tony Lye
Oriental Istanbul is a wonderful company. They are welcoming, helpful, knowledgeable and very accommodating. I would recommend them without hesitation! - Artemis Mourat / 2013, Teacher
Wonderful and unforgettable experience, loved every moment! Will definitely return to Istanbul! hoping to see you all again! - Itsumi Suganuma / 2012, Student
If you are a dancer at heart that appreciates beauty, history and colorful culture this is the perfect trip to embark on. With knowledgeable and kind hosts that will take care of you and welcome you to their home town you will be delighted by what they have planned for you. A beautiful trip to bring a friend along and to make new ones! I would return in a heartbeat. - Bozenka / 2013, Teacher
I always have a great time with Oriental Istanbul tours as guest teacher, knowing my students will be hosted very well in stunning parts of Turkey and its makes my work so easy and pleasureful.. One of the best and warmest organizers I ever worked internationally. Strongly Recommended! - Ozgen / 2011, 2012, 2013 Teacher
THE perfect tour: very rare & unique - detailed instruction by Ozgen, real roman by Reyhan + local festival in Edirne. How can be better than that! Really appreciate the flexibility about stay & activities. All people in the tour are nice, friendly and helpful - pleasurable all the time. Most of all Burcu and Yoko did such a great job organizing & leading us - easy going yet professional, they know tourism and dancing well. Plus, Ozgen is the great instructor as well as our travel buddy - fun & positive energy, multi tasking (waiter, guide, entertainer etc.. ;) ) Can't wait for the next year! - Akiko Tanikawa / 2012 & 2013, Student
- Had an amazing time in Istanbul. 1 week of sightseeing and dancing ..Thank you all but especially our sweet organizer Burcu who made this a special experience. Can’t wait for the next one... Kirney
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