Turkish Cuisine Week kicked off on 21 May, this year’s star being the province of Hatay. Launched last year by Türkiye’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism at the initiative of the country’s First Lady Emine Erdoğan, the project aims to showcase and celebrate Turkish gastronomy with various events being organised around the world.
Throughout the week, unique recipes from the timeless Turkish cuisine are showcased, highlighting, at the same time, the sustainability of Türkiye’s culinary tradition. The country’s rich gastronomic culture is shared not only through mouth-watering dishes, but also through preparation demonstrations and accompanying customs.
Our cuisine represents our cultural identity. Not only what we eat, but also what we do not eat defines our cultural identity.H.E. Emine Erdoğan, Türkiye’s First Lady
Boasting more than 650 dishes, Hatay’s gastronomy is a Mediterranean cuisine characterized by fresh vegetables, quality olive oil, legumes and cereals. Moreover, the city of Antakya in Hatay province has long been world-renowned for its diverse cuisine, being inscribed on UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network in gastronomy.
The Hatay menu, showcased in this year’s international events, includes flatbread with red pepper paste, olive salad, hummus, kısır (fine bulgur salad), oven-baked kebap and künefe (Kadayıf dessert with cheese).
In Brussels, former Minister of Foreign Affairs and newly appointed Ambassador to the EU, Faruk Kaymakcı, celebrated Turkish Cuisine Week with guests at his residence, offering them a taste of the Hatay menu.
Turkish Cuisine, which is based on a zero waste philosophy, is also a sustainable cuisine in terms of both ecological and cultural context. Vegetables, fruits or meat, every piece of the food is used in the kitchen, nothing is wasted.H.E. Faruk Kaymakcı, Ambassador of Türkiye to the EU
“Shaped by more than a thousand years of cultures and traditions, social heritage and stories, Turkish Cuisine offers a multi-layered and rich cultural heritage”, Ambassador Faruk Kaymakcı explained. “Türkiye’s fertile geography and abundant flora and fauna given by its climate diversity are among the factors that play an important role in the formation of rich Turkish Cuisine. Besides, the cultures living in the Anatolian lands throughout the history and the human-geography relationship contribute to this richness of the Turkish Cuisine.”
The audience was also delighted with a demonstration of Künefe cooking and performance of the Brussels International Amity Orchestra, founded in 2021 at the initiative of Prof. Dr. Aygül Günaltay Weyler. The orchestra is part of a quadripartite Erasmus+ project called “Music 4 Inclusion”, being composed of artists frum Türkiye, Belgium, France and the Netherlands.
In Turkish culture, tables, where the entire family gathers and guests are accepted as guests of God, bring together people of all ages, conditions and social classes, playing an essential role in social cohesion. Traditional tables are one manifestation of the generosity of the Turkish people, their love of sharing and solidarity and a daily life-affirming culture that has existed for thousands of years.
In Turkish culture, the table is an important place. Therefore tonight, we gathered around this table for this year’s special menu introducing local tastes from the cuisine of Antakya and Hatay.H.E. Faruk Kaymakcı, Ambassador of Türkiye to the EU
Cuisine is an essential component of Türkiye’s intangible social heritage, guaranteeing the transfer and sustainability of cultural heritage to new generations. The country’s taste heritage, shaped by countless civilizations such as the Seljuks and the Ottomans, is among the richest cuisines in the world, featuring traditional recipes, healthy and waste-free table and a timeless identity. Nourished by the interaction of different cultures in a historical process exceeding thousands of years, Turkish cuisine thus brings deep-rooted traditions to the present day.
To celebrate and share this gastronomical heritage and promote the richness of Turkish cuisine to a global audience, the “Turkish Cuisine with Timeless Recipes” book was published under the leadership of First Lady Emine Erdoğan. In addition to presenting 218 centuries-old traditional recipes in their original form, the book also discusses the healthy storage and cooking techniques used in Turkish gastronomy, drawing attention to its waste-free, ecological and sustainable characteristics. “I hope that these recipes that have brought delight to our dining tables for centuries will be a source of health and pleasure to the entire world”, First Lady Erdoğan commented on the publication.