From white sand beaches and towering mountains to stunning hot air balloon shows in Cappadocia and spice-trading bazaars, Turkey is the perfect blend of European and Middle Eastern influences, being recognized as the bridge between the two continents. Over 80 million people live in Turkey today with the country also being home to some of the earliest human civilization dating back over 11,000 years ago. Though the landscapes and the stunning architecture are enough to convince anyone to visit Turkey, the cuisine, which pulls inspiration from European, Asian, and Middle Eastern dishes, is the selling point with many traditional dishes to choose from.
Having been subscribed to Universal Yums for over two years now, it was inevitable that we’d eventually get a box from a country that we previously tried, which was the case this month. While I was contemplating skipping over this month as to not try the same snacks all over again, I decided to go for it regardless. Surprisingly, while there were a couple of snacks that were repeats from last time, there was also a bunch of new ones that we hadn’t yet tried. With new and exciting snacks to try such as orange-vanilla cake and carrot Turkish delight, let’s get right into snacking!
Click here to see what treats we tried the last time we ventured to Turkey with Universal Yums.
Corn Snack with Grilled Kebab Flavor
Known for being one of the oldest and most popular snacks, kebabs are the star of the show in Turkey. Dating back almost 800,000 years ago (yes kebabs really are that old) the early civilizations were grilling their meats over open fires to get that smoked, grilled taste. This tradition continued on into the medieval times when Turkish soldiers would skewer their meat with their swords and lay it over an open fire to cook it. Needless to say, kebabs have continued to be a popular food throughout the past centuries and are still a well sought after item in Turkey, also inspiring new takes on this traditional dish, such as these corn snacks. With a crunchy texture and traditional kebab flavoring, these chickpea and corn bites will give you a taste of history as well as grilled meat goodness.
Rating – 3/5
Torku Enjoy Kek
Chocolate and Vanilla Sponge Cake with Orange Filling
Originally a homemade recipe and something that could only be enjoyed in the comfort of your own home after your grandma has whipped one up for you, cakes or ‘keks’ are now one of the most popular snacks to grab and eat on the go. Traditionally baked at home using original recipes and fresh ingredients, these popular snack cakes are now manufactured on a much larger scale to keep up with the demand without sacrificing the authentic flavoring. While there are many different varieties of ‘keks’, the one that we’ll be taste testing this month consists of a rich, moist cake swirled with vanilla and chocolate batter and topped off with a sweet, orange jam in the center.
Rating – 4/5
Ulber Krispi Tirtikli Kraker Baharatli
Cracker Chips with Mixed Spices
Insanely popular not only in Turkey but also across the entirety of the Middle East, ‘baharat’ is a blend of spices that can be found in many different dishes, such as these cracker chips. Seasoned with a blend of onion, parsley, thyme, and garlic, these crispy, crackers are packed full of flavor with a tiny hint of heat to spice things up a bit.
Rating – 4/5
Keyifce Fistikli Cezerye
Turkish Delight with Coconut, Pistachio, and Carrot
A visit to Turkey, wouldn’t be complete without some Turkish delight, but not just any ordinary kind, one that is completely unique and rare. Made using a sticky mixture of pistachios, carrots, and coconut, this special treat can only be found in the town of Gaziantep, a small Turkish town near the borders of Iraq and Syria. While the combination may seem completely out of the ordinary for most, ‘cezerye’ is still eaten almost daily by those living in the south of the country.
Rating – 2/5
Lush Cocoa Creme Mosaic Cookies
Mosaic Cookies with Chocolate Cream Filling
From the special Turkish delight previously mentioned to the unique blend of spices that seems to find it’s way into every Turkish dish, Turkey is no stranger to keeping with their traditional and beloved recipes. While they love to keep with the foods they’re already familiar with, they aren’t opposed to welcoming new innovations as well and seeing as they are the middle ground between the two continents, they tend to be the first to experience these new inventions coming in from Europe. One of these inventions that has started to become more and more popular in Turkey as well as further into the Middle East, is chocolate. Having never been much of a chocolate crazy country, mainly due to the fact that cocoa beans don’t exactly flourish out in the middle of the desert, Turkey has now started to embrace and enjoy the ingredient more, adding it to many different desserts and snacks. Created using some of the finest European chocolate, these gorgeous cookies have a unique vanilla and chocolate swirl design as well as a creamy, chocolate filling.
Rating – 4/5
Crunch Tako and Hardal Aromali Cips
Crisps with Mustard Taco Seasoning
A little confused as to why you’d find taco flavored chips in a snack box from Turkey? Let me explain. Over 80 years ago, back in 1927, Turkey and Mexico signed an agreement known as a ‘friendship agreement’ which created an important alliance between the two countries. This alliance meant that both countries were now able to trade their most coveted goods back and forth, even if the journey to do so was over 7,000 miles long. Fast forward to the present day and the two countries are now trading over $1,3 billion worth of goods yearly. While the friendship between Turkey and Mexico seems out of the ordinary, it is the reason why we have these taco mustard flavored chips that are as unique as the countries’ alliance.
Rating – 3/5
Sugar Candies in Orange-Chocolate Flavoring
Made in the sugar capital of Turkey, Konya, these mints are one of the oldest and most beloved candies in the country. Available in many different flavors, including this chocolate orange kind, these special candies are made using something called sugar beets, which are also Turkey’s 5th largest producer. Requiring a very specific soil to grow in, which luckily enough can be found in Turkey, these beets are cultivated by thousands of farmers each season. The beets are then turned into sugar and used to make sweet treats such as these candies.
Rating – 2/5
Tatsan Soft Nougat
Soft Chocolate Nougat with Hazelnuts
Packing just the right amount of sweetness and a slight crunchy texture, this chocolate-hazelnut nougat is the perfect treat to showcase one of the country’s biggest exports. Producing over 80% of the world’s hazelnuts, with half of that being produced in the small coastal town of Ordu, Turkey loves their hazelnuts and have found many different ways to incorporate them into their dishes, namely their desserts. Turkey’s most famous crop can be found in everything from cookies to cakes and in chocolate nougat as well.
Rating – 4/5
Tatrak Cubuk Acili
Spicy Cracker Sticks
If you’ve been wandering down the snack aisle in a Turkish grocery store, you’ll notice that there aren’t many chips adorning the shelves like you would see in other countries. The reasoning for this is easy, the people of Turkey simply don’t enjoy chips as much as they do their snack sticks or ‘cubuk’ as they’re known. Taking the Turkish snack market by storm, these salty sticks come in a variety of different flavors to choose from including buttery popcorn, cheese, and herb. The most popular flavor though is the one that we’re tasting this month and that’s ‘acili’, which is one of the country’s most iconic flavors, combining a strong blend of spices with cheese for the unique taste.
Rating – 3/5
Today Cherry Donut
Chocolate Donut with Cherry Jelly
Along with hazelnuts, Turkey is also a huge producer of cherries. Named after the Black Sea region of modern-day Turkey, cherries are a big thing in the country, so much so that Turkey produces over 800,000 tons of the tiny fruit yearly. Lucky for us, with this rich, chocolate donut and it’s sweet cherry filling, we’ll be getting a taste of this special fruit.
Rating – 3/5
Ulker Krispi Peynir Sogan
Cheese and Onion Cracker Chips
While the name Ulker might never have rung a bell for you before, in Turkey the name is recognized by almost everyone living there. Created by two brothers, Sabri and Asim, back in the 60’s, Ulker is a large company found in Turkey that employs over 40,000 people. What started as a small bakery in Istanbul, Ulker is now the largest food manufacturer in the country, producing everything from chocolate and cookies to these beloved cracker chips, available in a variety of different flavors, including cheese and onion.
Rating – 4/5
Assorted Turkish Delight
Lemon, Orange, and Rose Flavored Turkish Delight
Having now found popularity throughout the country and the rest of the world, Turkish Delight was a treat created for royalty back in the Ottoman Empire. Rewind over 300 years ago to Turkey, when Sultan Abdul Hamid was ruling over the land. Calling on all of the kingdom’s confectioners, the Sultan decided to have them create a unique, sweet treat that he could present to his wife. Hundreds of different sweets were made but the one that won over the Sultan was the treat created by Bekir Affendi in his tiny shop in Istanbul. Known originally as ‘lokum’, Bekir created Turkish delight by mixing starch and sugar syrup together, then cooking it for six hours. Once cooked, it was then infused with rose petals to give it that distinctive taste and then cut into little cubes. Not only was ‘lokum’ a huge hit amongst the royals and the sultans wife, soon enough the trendy treat started spreading to the rest of the country where it was met with open arms. In the 1800’s, it was brought over to the rest of Europe, where it’s popularity has just continued to spread and increase over the years.
Rating – 1/5
Soft, Chewy Candy with Mastic Flavor
While most of the planet has never heard of or tasted mastic, the country of Turkey is obsessed with the stuff. Found almost exclusively on the island of Chios, a small island off the Western part of the country, mastic is a gum-like sap that comes from the mastic tree. Found in everything from candies and ice cream to coffee and Turkish delight, mastic adds an acquired taste of woody, pine-y flavors to any dish. Though this stuff is adored by the people of Turkey, it definitely isn’t for everyone, making a lot of people divided on whether the bitterness of the pine flavor is for them or not, making these candies that much more unique.
Rating – 0/5
Toffix Melo Melo
Soft Milk Candy with Pear and Orange Flavor
Among being known for many different things, such as producing the most hazelnuts or cherries, Turkey is also known for being a fruit hub. Growing everything from pears and oranges to figs, pomegranates, and apricots, the country finds itself amongst the top ten fruit producers in the world. Still known today for being big on farming, with over 30% of the population being farmers, Turkey is actually believed the be the spot where humans first started farming, over 10,000 years ago. With all sorts of crops growing in the country, there was bound to also be an assortment of different dishes using these fruits, including these soft milk candies. Flavored with a tart orange center and a sweet pear coating, these candies pair the best of both worlds together to make a truly unique treat.
Rating – 4/5
Another month of Universal Yums in the bag and onto the next, where we’ll be trying snacks and candies from another brand new country.
In the meantime, be sure to catch up on any previous posts you may have missed and don’t forget to check out the link below to save $5 on your first month of Universal Yums.