Nathan Fong is a Vancouver born chef who is an award-winning food stylist, an accomplished food & travel journalist and founder of Fong on Food. His love for food is a family trait that has been the drive behind his work, although he wouldn't call it a 'job' or 'work'.
In the business since 1989, Nathan is a pioneer in preparing food for photography and film. He developed many of the mouth watering techniques used by food stylists today. It is important to Nathan for the food to look as good in media as it does in person.
For Nathan, travel and food go hand in hand. His drive and passion for travel stems from his desire to expand his palate and share this with others.
Explore the world of food through Nathan's eyes and share in his experiences.
TURKEY CULINARY & CULTURE TOUR
With NATHAN FONG
29 September – 13 October 2019
Turkey is paradise for food lovers! Turkish cuisine, one of the richest in the world, offers plenty of variety due to its geographical and cultural diversity. Even though the best known dish is probably The Kebab, Turkish cuisine offers many vegetarian options as well. The ingredients, cooking methods, eating habits and tastes differ from region to region. No visit to any country is complete without tasting its food and understanding its cuisine and Turkey is no exception. Nathan Fong and Unison Turkey have teamed up and prepared a variety of culinary and cultural experiences during this 14-day tour. Bon Appetit – or as we say, Afiyet Olsun!
29 September 2019
Welcome to Istanbul. The amazing capital of Byzantine and Ottoman Empires. This is the only city in the world located on two continents. Istanbul is one of the world’s greatest cities, where millions of people from many different cultures live and contribute to the colors of the city.
Upon arrival, you will be met at the airport by a representative and transferred to your hotel in the heart of the Old City.
Afternoon, Turkish Bath “Hamam” Experience: Ayasofya Hurrem Sultan Hamamı - The Ayasofya Hurrem Sultan Hamam in Istanbul was designed and built by Mimar Sinan, the chief Ottoman architect. It was built at the request of Hurrem Sultan (Roxelana), the wife of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent in the 16th century.
Welcome Dinner: Matbah Restaurant: The late Ottoman age combined with modern tastes is reflected in the Istanbul Matbah Restaurant's Menu.
30 September 2019
We are starting our journey in Turkey as sweet as possible.
We will depart our hotel after the breakfast; we are invited to Karakoy Gulluoglu where we will enjoy a workshop followed by a feast of famous Turkish dessert “baklava”. During the visit, as well as learning the secrets of the preparation stage of this delicious dessert, you will be tasting various kinds of it and learning how to distinguish a good baklava from bad.
After our sweet start, we are ready to explore the amazing historical monuments of Istanbul.
Our first stop is the Hagia Sophia, the 6th century Byzantine basilica, the largest church of its era and the architectural glory of the Byzantines.
Lunch at an “esnaf lokantasi” serving many type of precooked delicious meals to select from.
We will then proceed to Underground Cistern which was used as a water supply for the city. Now the Cistern is beautifully restored and presented and offers a magical, mystical atmosphere. We continue with Hippodrome Square, where was considered the heart of Constantinople and the chariot races were held and Blue Mosque, 17th century imperial mosque famous for its six minarets and its interior blue tiles.
Dinner - Mikla: Opened by chef Mehmet Gürs of Turkish-Scandinavian background, Mikla serves traditional and true ‘noble’ products which are treated with utmost respect while being transformed with a blend of new and ancient techniques.
1 October 2019
Topkapi Palace, to visit the spacious grounds, four courtyards, treasury and you also have the option of visiting Harem (entrance fee to be paid locally).
Lunch: Karakol Restaurant - Located in the court of Topkapi Palace, the restaurant serves great samples of both Turkish and International cuisine.
Then indulge in shopping in the Grand Bazaar, which was the commercial heart of the old city and its 4,000 shops are full of treasures – including carpets and kilims, silks, jewelry, ceramics, icons, and leather goods. Wandering through the Grand Bazaar, indulge in some shopping, Ottoman style.
This afternoon, we will enjoy a cruise along the Bosphorus. Afternoon drinks and nibbles will be served on our private, luxury motoryacht.
Dinner - Samatya Develi - Kebab is one of the first meals that come to mind, when talking about Turkish cuisine. Develi has been serving top quality kebabs since 4 generations and is one of the most preferred kebab brands by Turkish people.
2 October 2019
A long day, a lot of street food walking and a lot of tasting awaits us today. We will be walking around the two most vibrants parts of Istanbul, one on the European and one on the Asian side. Maybe it’s better to skip breakfast today. :)
In the morning, let us accompany you through the colourful backstreets and hustle and bustle of historic Eminönü . We will introduce you to all kinds of unusual food as we walk, very possibly tastes that you have never encountered before. We will talk about white cheese, olives, pickles, baklava, milk puddings,Turkish Delight, and much more … our walk will take us through traditional neighbourhoods where you can imagine that time has stood still. If you have a hankering for the old Istanbul resonant with the cries of street vendors, shops owned by the same family for generations, timeless scenes of men enjoying a glass of tea outside on the pavement, porters humping impossible burdens on their backs, you will enjoy this walk. Not only will we eat street food, we will sometimes enter the little local restaurants to enjoy their particular speciality.
Afterwards we take a short ferry ride across the Bosphorus to the Asian side. Kadıköy, the ancient Chalcedon, is a joy to explore and we will walk, talk and sample to our hearts’ content. The narrow streets are completely cut off to traffic so we will go in and out of the various little shops without hindrance. With several foodie stops along the way, our walk will conclude several hours later with a restorative glass of çay in one of the traditional Turkish tea gardens overlooking the Sea of Marmara.
3 October 2019
Today, after breakfast, you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to the heart of the country.
Flight with Turkish Airlines:
TK2026 Istanbul Kayseri 08:50 10:25
Lunch & Cooking Class: For lunch, you are invited to a village house, where you will learn secrets of baking bread and cooking local dishes in the stone oven from the owner of the house. Lunch will be served in the garden of the village house.
This evening, watch a Whirling Dervish ritual dance, called a Sema, in the historic Sarihan Caravansarai in Avanos.
4 October 2019
Today enjoy a full day to tour the riches of this incredible “moonscape” of Cappadocia
including the Goreme Open-Air Museum, with its dozens of painted cave-churches. The surrealistic geological formation of Cappadocia is one of the wonders of the world. It is the result of the natural forces during the intense volcanic activity.
Lunch at Somine Restaurant: For lunch, taste the famous “testi kebabi”, consisting of a mixture of meat and vegetables cooked in a clay pot or jug over fire
Other visits are to Devrent Valley, Pasabag Fairy Towers, and Uchisar Castle as well as many panoramic photo stops. Then we will continue to the pottery making village of Avanos where you watch clay turning into a form of artwork.
Dinner at Seki Restaurant - Seki’s recipe for success is quite simple! Only fresh local ingredients are used and interpreted with contemporary cooking techniques to create incredible and unique flavors which are complemented with Kalecik Karası and Syrah wines produced with grapes from their vineyards. At SEKI, you can begin your gastronomic journey with duck confit wrapped in chard leaves with spicy apricot sauce and roasted almonds; continue your feast with a main dish of lamb cutlet with grape molasses, “firik” pilaf and fresh garden herbs; and top off your first-class meal with a traditional quince dessert with mince and clotted cream, a local and unique treat.
5 October 2019
Optional: Another early morning, very early indeed, but definitely worth the effort, as we will enjoy a hot air balloon ride over the magnificent landscape of Cappadocia.
Today our first stop is Kaymakli Underground City, one of the most interesting underground settlements in Cappadocia, where early Christians hid from prosecutors.
We will continue our tour with Ihlara Valley, where we will trek along and enjoy the amazing scenery.
Picnic Lunch: During our trek along the Ihlara Valley, we will stop at our tracks and enjoy our own picnic lunch with regional delicacies and local wine.
Afternoon is at your leisure to enjoy the amazing atmosphere of Cappadocia and your beautiful hotel.
Dinner at Lil’a Restaurant - Lil’a is the à la carte restaurant of Museum Hotel, the only Relais & Châteaux hotel in Turkey, bringing the best recipes of Turkish cuisine, along with those special, almost forgotten traditional tastes of Anatolia and Cappadocia, and served with impeccable service to its guests. Situated in the most beautiful and scenic location of Cappadocia, and with its menus enriched by the creative suggestions of Chef Saygın Sesli, one of the most successful chefs of the new generation in Turkey, Lil’a offers the most distinct interpretations of Anatolian cuisine and Cappadocia food culture with the assurance of the world-renowned Relais & Châteaux service quality.
6 October 2019
Today after breakfast, we will once again be transferred to the airport, this time traveling to the West.
Flight with Turkish Airlines via Istanbul
TK2011 Kayseri Istanbul 09:00 10:35
TK2324 Istanbul Izmir 13:00 14:10
Today, we are going to spend a relaxed afternoon in Urlice Vineyards at Urla, a family owned and operated boutique winery with a goal to express the potential of this ancient viticultural terroir with their vineyards of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Shiraz. Both ancient viticultural techniques and biodynamic laws are respected as well as painstaking efforts to remain chemical–free in the vineyards. After spending some time here visiting the vineyards and getting informed about the production wine culture of the area, we will end our visit with a supper of home made pizzas along with delicious wine pairings.
Overnight Alacati - a quaint historic town old cobblestone streets, tastefully preserved stone buildings and delicious regional fresh food. This evening you can stroll through the historic town stopping to taste local delicacies such as mastic flavored pastries, fresh cheese cookies and Turkish coffee at Alaçatı cafes as well as the Crafts District featuring antiques, ceramics, woodworking and art galleries.
7 October 2019
After breakfast, we are driving to Selcuk to spend the day touring the amazing historical Ephesus region, starting with a visit to Isabey Mosque, a simple but beautiful mosque built by Selcuk Turks overlooking the Basilica of St John. Our guide will lecture us about Islam religion briefly and you will have a chance to discuss the distinctions between Christianity and Islam at this very special point where artifacts from both religions remain. Our next stop is Artemis Temple; once one of the seven wonders of the world, now only a few columns left.
Lunch at Can Carpet - We will drive to Camlik Village to visit Can Carpets. This is a small atelier, where they still use the traditional dye extraction method from plants. First, we will share their lunch with them. Then, here we will learn about the dying process with a demonstration and observe women making traditional one-of-a-kind carpets.
We will then visit Ephesus Ancient City in the afternoon, as a nice breeze starts at about 3 pm. 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 ancient city. See the Fountains of Trojan, Polio, the Temples of Hadrian and Domition, Private House, the Library of Celsius, Various and Scholastic Baths, Bouloterion and the Great Theatre with capacity of 24,000 spectators. Prepare to be amazed. We will end the day at House of Virgin Mary, where she is believed to have travelled together with St John and spent the last days of her life. The house was founded following the dream of a nun and is now protected by Turkish Military. You will have the chance to light a candle inside this very special church.
Dinner: Ancient Roman Feast - Tonight, the owner of our hotel, Mujde Tonbekici, who is a very well known author and guide will give us a lecture about the Ancient Roman Cuisine, followed by a feast of dishes cooked with Ancient Roman recipes and Ancient Roman style.
Overnight at Sirince Nisanyan Houses.
8 October 2019
We are rising early today by the cock crow and donkey bray.
After a rich breakfast, we are heading to Pamukkale, meaning ‘White Castle’ in Turkish, which is a geothermal feature of terraced hot springs in southwest Turkey.
Pamukkale is one of the most interesting places in the world, justly famous not only for the entrancing beauty of its unique geological formations but also for its historical remains. Pamukkale has always been a very popular settlement where the hot springs were believed to have healing powers, so the city became the center of a pagan cult in antiquity and a spa resort today. It represents a shimmering white cascade, formed by limestone-laden hot springs, which have formed stalactites, potholes and magical fairy-tables. The water is reputed to be beneficial to the eyes and skin and to alleviate the ills of rheumatism, asthma and dermatitis.The ancient city of Hierapolis was constructed atop the springs and many ruins remain.
Overnight and dinner in Sirince Nisanyan Houses.
9 October 2019
Today, we are heading to 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.
Lunch - 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.
After lunch, we are driving to Bodrum and checkin in our hotel to enjoy the Aegean Sea and hotel’s facilities.
Dinner is free at your leisure.
Overnight in Bodrum.
10 October 2019
Today is an amazing leisure day to spend along the bays of Aegean Sea, on board our private Gulet Yacht. Rest on the deck, dip in the crystal clear waters and enjoy a delicious lunch cooked by Nathan Fong himself on board.
Overnight in Bodrum.
11 October 2019
Bodrum is home to many civilizations and we have prepared a historical journey from the first settlement until today. Enjoy a ride along the peninsula, along with the breathtaking stories of mythological heroes, wars, kings,queens and knights. A visit to the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, Bodrum Castle and the world’s largest Underwater Archeology Museum are also in today’s program.
Early Supper: Selia Artisanal Farm - After spending leisure time in town, for afternoon and supper, we are heading to Selia Artisanal Farm, producing wine, goat cheese, olives, jams and bread using traditional methods and without using any chemicals or preservatives. Take a trip around the farm to learn about the production, visit the cellars and a sommelier will accompany you for local produce wine tasting. Enjoy a leisurely supper together with Selia’s owners sharing stories and wine.
Overnight in Bodrum.
12 October 2019
After breakfast today, you will be transferred to the airport for flying back to Istanbul.
Flight with Turkish Airlines:
TK2509 Bodrum Istanbul 11:15 12:45
Today is a free day in Istanbul for you to explore, relax and maybe catch up with last minute shopping in town.
Dinner - Turkish Style Meyhane - We are enjoying a Greek / Turkish style farewell dinner tonight. Sample amazing mezes and fish along with Turkey’s most famous alcoholic drink Raki.
13 October 2019
Transfer to the Istanbul Ataturk International Airport for your flight back home.
4 nights BB accommodation at Ottoman Imperial Hotel Premium Rooms in Istanbul.
3 Nights BB accommodation at Yunak Houses Deluxe Rooms in Cappadocia.
1 Night BB accommodation at Luce Hotel ROH rooms in Alacati.
2 Nights BB accommodation at Nisanyan Houses ROH rooms in Sirince.
3 Nights BB accommodation at Kempiski Barbaros Bay Deluxe Rooms in Bodrum.
1 Night BB accommodation at Pera Palace Hotel Golden Horn View Rooms in Istanbul.
All airport transfers and transport in air-conditioned, private minivan (up to 9 people) or minibus (10 people or more).
All sightseeing tours as stated in the itinerary.
Services of a professional, licensed, English speaking tour guide with the tours.
All meals stated in the itinerary.
Private Bosphorus cruise with deluxe motor yacht in Istanbul.
Private day cruise with deluxe gulet yacht in Bodrum.
Price Does Not Include:
Tips for guide and driver
Meals not stated in the itinerary
Optional balloon cruise - $270 CAD