Hi there and welcome back to another month of Universal Yums. For the month of November we embarked on a journey to Turkey. Rich in culture, Turkey has a vast history and is one of the only countries in the world to have been conquered by all of the world’s empires which creates for quite the culturally vast country. Turkey also borders two continents, Asia and Europe, which means that not only is their history and lifestyle rich in different cultures but their food is as well so let’s hop right into the snacks and discover all that Turkey has to offer. As always I’ll be sharing with you a few bits of information regarding each snack in the box as well as my opinion of the treats.
Acili Ulker Krispi Kraker
Created by two brothers in the early 1900’s, the company that makes these crackers have become one of the most popular companies in all of Turkey. The acili krispi krakers are a thin cracker flavored with a smoky, pepper seasoning and are made using a special Turkish chili pepper known as Urfa biber. The process in which the peppers go through to be prepared is quite extensive but is crucial to give these crackers that distinctive smoky, charred taste.
These cracker chips were supposed to be spicy which made me a bit nervous as I’m a huge baby when it comes to anything with spice, but they were actually bearable and not as spicy as they were made out to seem. They did however have that really good smoky, almost BBQ flavor which made them a hit in my book.
Hazerbaba Turkish Delight
A box filled with goodies from Turkey wouldn’t be complete without including one of the country’s most famous and well known snacks, Turkish Delight. Created over 300 hundred years ago, this sticky snack was made by a man looking to please the ruler of the Ottoman Empire at the time. The ruler was looking for a snack to impress his soon to be wife and through this, Turkish delight was born. Once known as lokum, turkish delight was made with a sweet jelly composed of honey and grapes and was then rolled in dried fruits and nuts. Nowadays, turkish delight comes in many different forms and flavors ranging from pomegranate to chocolate but the one that we’ll be trying today will be rose flavored with a powdery topping.
I was expecting this treat to be in this month’s box as soon as I found out that the country of the month was Turkey and to be honest I was really excited to try it as I’ve heard a lot about it. Though it really was something interesting and different from what I’ve had before, in the end I really wasn’t a fan. Not only did the texture, which was almost like a giant wad of chewing gum, throw me off but floral flavors really aren’t my thing.
Not necessarily the best candy in the world but an interesting one to say the least, these are the Toffix Mastic. This treat was once worth more than gold in Turkey and those who were caught stealing mastic, the ingredient used to make these candies, were executed. Mastic is actually tree sap that’s been dried and hardened in the sun which then turns into a transparent resin. The candies are meant to taste like a pine tree (great for the upcoming Christmas season) and the process to extract said mastic from the trees to made this sticky treat can take up to a year so it’s quite the endeavor to say the least.
Hands down probably one of the weirdest things I’ve ever tried and definitely something different but in this case that wasn’t necessarily a good thing. I always taste test all of the treats in my Universal Yums box with my fiance and while he is not a picky eater at all and eats pretty much anything, neither one of us liked these candies one bit. They did taste a lot like what a Christmas tree would smell like but the more you chewed on them, the worst the flavor came to be so two thumbs down from me for the Toffix Mastic.
Elvan Banana Donut
Donuts have been apart of Turkish cuisine now for over hundreds of years but as time went on they’ve gotten upgrade after upgrade to make them even better. Donuts were originally only served to royalty until everyone no matter the social status, was allowed to consume them. Turkish donuts were also once known as lokma and were flavored with ingredients such as rose water and honey. As the years have gone on, more and more unique flavors of donuts have appeared in Turkey and the one that we’ll be trying today is especially unique, a banana flavored donut.
As soon as I saw this in the box I was so excited to try it and it looked so good. I wasn’t wrong and this donut was definitely one of the better things in this month’s box. The banana flavoring wasn’t too overpowering to the point where it got to be too much and the donut itself was moist and enjoyable.
Yogurt is hugely popular in Turkey and can be found in almost everything, including in these delicious candies. The dairy treat has many different uses throughout the country from being served with meat and veggies for supper, spread on bread, poured into soups, made into drinks, and so on and so on. Each of these fruity candies that we’ll be munching on today are filled with a sweet yogurt filling in the middle.
I can see why these candies are so popular in Turkey, they’re absolutely amazing. From what I saw there seemed to be four different flavors offered of these candies but in my box I only had the peach and the strawberry flavor but regardless they were so good. As I’m writing this I’m craving these so bad and basically wishing that we had something similar to this here in Canada. The candies are really chewy and creamy and pretty much almost melt in your mouth. The flavors are also not too artificial tasting and are definitely one of, if not the best, treats in this month’s Universal Yums box.
Today Croissant with Thyme, Basil, and Olive Oil
While many may assume that croissants originated from France, we’ve been wrong this whole time. This buttery treat was actually created in Turkey during the Ottoman empire and were shaped into the crescent shape we know today to symbolize the same shape that can be found on the Turkish flag. One hundred years later croissants were brought to France where they’ve continued to grow in popularity. While most people will known croissants for being a flaky, buttery snack, the ones that we will be trying this month are actually quite savory being flavored with thyme, olive oil, and basil.
So we actually do have croissants here in Quebec of course and while I’m not a huge fan of them, this one was so completely different from the ones that I’ve tried before. Though I still wasn’t overly crazy about this one, it was definitely unique not only in it’s flavor but also in the texture. I found that this croissant was less light and flaky than the ones that I’m used to and they were also more dense. The olive oil flavoring was a bit too overpowering for my taste but overall it wasn’t the worst thing out there.
O’lala Souffle Cake
Chocolate lovers rejoice, because this is definitely the treat for you. While this would be something that we would enjoy for a decadent dessert, in Turkey cakes are now eaten whenever even as a breakfast food. This delicious chocolate cake is not only fluffy on the outside but it’s oozing with liquid chocolate in the middle for even more chocolate-y goodness. To make it taste even better (if that’s even possible) you can pop it in the microwave for a few seconds to warm it up and melt it even more.
I’m not a huge chocolate eater and so while this wasn’t something that I would gravitate towards, it wasn’t half bad. The cake portion of it is really moist and chocolate-y and the liquid chocolate in the middle was also a good but for me it was just a bit too much chocolate.
Clip Sesame Sticks
Also known as ‘simit’ throughout Turkey, these sesame sticks are the Turkish version of what we know as bagels here. Though the shape isn’t the same, the concept is and it is essentially a piece of dough rolled into a stick shape and covered in sesame seeds. Unlike bagels however, these sesame sticks only come in one flavor and while they can be dipped into different toppings , they are usually just eaten plain throughout Turkey.
Since we have something pretty similar to this snack here in Canada, these weren’t really anything special for me but they were still good regardless. I also find they would be a good alternative to chips or other junk food as they still have that crunchiness about them without being overly bad for you.
Though this sweet treat resembles a mini pie, it is actually a cookie. Considered to be a staple throughout the country, this cookie is made with a flaky butter crust filled with a zesty orange jelly in the middle and topped with brightly colored sprinkles.
While this cookie wasn’t the worst thing, it wasn’t my favorite treat this time around. I really enjoyed the crust part of the cookie but the jelly in the middle was a bit too overpowering for me and tasted too strongly of oranges for my taste.
Sade Mevlana Seker
Known by many different names ranging from rock candy to cheese candy, these candies are definitely unique in their own way. Though they may look like a mint that you’ll pop in your mouth after a meal, the flavor is something totally new. Made from sade, also known as bergamot oil, these sugary candies bear resemblance to an Earl Grey tea which is also heavily flavored with bergamot.
I was a little skeptical about these when I first saw them and though the flavor didn’t really bother me, the texture of these candies when you bite into them made them a bit less enjoyable but as mentioned, they really do taste similar to Earl Grey tea.
Baharatli Ulker Krispi Kraker
Made by the same company as the acili krispi krakers mentioned above, these ones are in the ‘baharalti’ flavor which essentially means spicy. While we may think spicy means having our mouths burning and on fire, in Turkey spicy refers more so to a blend of spices to flavor something which is exactly what these crackers offer. Seasoned with a blend of onion, parsley, thyme, and garlic, they are bursting with flavor and a hint of heat.
In my opinion this flavor of the krispi krakers were much better than the other ones included in this month’s box and were actually one of my top three items this time around. They had a good mix of savory and salty and I found them to have a similar taste to a tomato or spaghetti sauce.
Miniki Milk Cream Chocolate Bar
Created by the company Torku, like many of the treats found in this month’s box, the miniki milk cream chocolate bar is both smooth and creamy and definitely one to enjoy. The miniki bar is compromised of a creamy, milk nougat nestled inside of a thin layer of smooth chocolate.
This chocolate bar was so so so good and that’s saying a lot coming from someone who isn’t normally a fan of chocolate. Without a doubt this was my top favorite thing from this month’s box and I’m wishing we had this here in Canada. The filling on the inside was really creamy and good while the chocolate on the outside was equally as good and almost melted in your mouth.
Torku Cocoa Helva
Popular not only in Turkey but also throughout the Middle East, helva is a sesame based treat that consists of boiling sugar and sesame paste to create the fudgy and crumbly treat. Oddly enough this sweet treat is eaten most often during funerals where it has become a custom to make some helva with friends and family after a loved one has died.
While this snack may be loved by many in Turkey, I wasn’t a fan. Not only did I find the flavoring to be a bit weird tasting, I also didn’t really like the texture of this treat.
Pistachio Cikolata Bar
As one of the world’s largest importers of hazelnuts and third biggest for pistachios, if there’s one thing that Turkey can be proud of, it’s their nuts. The famous chocolate company Ferrero Rocher is also a huge fan of Turkey’s nuts and insists on importing their hazelnuts from Turkey solely. So while you’ve probably all tried Turkey’s hazelnuts when munching on some Ferrero Rocher chocolates, this month it’s time to also try out their pistachios with this pistachio cikolata bar.
First off, the chocolate from this chocolate bar is so good. It’s both creamy and smooth as well as great tasting. The only thing I wasn’t too crazy about with this treat was the fact that it was hard to taste the pistachios but regardless they added a good crunch to an otherwise regular old chocolate bar.
If you’re interested in getting your own Universal Yums box to try out some tasty treats from a different country each month be sure to visit their website for more information.
To see what other countries we’ve discovered and what other snacks that we’ve tried over the past few months be sure to read all of the other Universal Yums posts that I have up on my blog and until next month where we’ll be embarking on a journey to not one but 13 different countries.