Turkish Delight: good enough for Len?
One day before I left for Turkey, I was talking to a friend at the gym about the trip and our conversation was overheard by Len Romano, who often eavesdrops. I tried to nonchalantly walk backwards before Len heard too much, but it was a negative. Not only did he find out about the trip, he
asked demanded that I bring back at least 3 pounds of Turkish Delight (for him to feast on alone, though both of his adorable daughters love it). And not just any Delight… he insisted on the finest quality, hand-crafted,* organic, made with farm-fresh local ingredients, obviously expensive, Turkish Delight.
*Preferably by me, under the tutelage of a TD Master).
As you can imagine, this put a bit of a damper on the whole trip, as I often found myself feeling anxious about satisfying Len’s demands within the short 10-day span of our trip. Everywhere we went, I searched for Turkish Delight. But time and time again, it didn’t seem good enough, fresh enough, outstanding enough. I’ve purchased four boxes already (I’ll be leaving some of my clothes here to make room in my suitcase), hoping that one of them won’t be too disappointing.
We visited a Turkish TV and radio station today (Samanyolu) and were lucky enough to meet Turkey’s most famous chef, Oktay Aymelek. He posed for pictures and showed us the herb garden that’s grown on set, with a tiny fish pond just below it. When it came time for Q & A, I asked if he could spend a few hours showing me how to make Turkish Delight for my friend (assuming all the ingredients were extra fresh), but he said no. 😦
As you can see, the Grand Bazar was full of every imaginable thing, including the gooey, nut/fruit filled desert coveted by Len. But I had a hard time finding 100% organic + nuts that were grown, picked, roasted and shelled without the use of machinery.
I searched everywhere and talked to everyone, powering through the formidable language barrier.
We leave tomorrow, which is sad enough, but I’ll also be getting up two hours early to try one last time to locate the home of the mother’s sister of the original inventor of Turkish Delight–info I obtained through a clandestine (and expensive!) connection via Resul, thanks to the happy coincidence that his ancestors were from the same Kurdish tribe as the connection’s. Only the best of the best for Len. Wish me luck!