Friday, 13 May 2011

A Truly Turkish Taste

these are called çağla (pron: char-lar)

In other words, unripened almonds. I think you have to be born Turkish in order to like these!
They are viewed here as an early harbinger of spring not necessarily a delicacy but even so, quite popular.  I find it hard to understand the attraction in the land of baklava and sweet syrupy desserts.
I am almost late posting about these as spring is marching on and of course the almonds are getting riper by the day . But when you see these in the markets, you should be aware  of what they are – and don’t buy them!
çağla on the branch right now in our garden in assos

This what they look like: pale green and furry. You bite into them and split the case with your teeth to find the kernel inside.  At the market on Monday I had one just to have another try, but no, not for me. Most definitely not.  The guys on the stall obviously thought I was mad as I spat it out!

beautifully peeled and chilled fresh almonds

However in the restaurants it’s another story. Don’t be surprised if suddenly a vendor from the street appears at your table bearing a tray like this laden with peeled almonds. This seems to be perfectly acceptable to the establishment and if you so desire, you order a plateful like the one above.
It's a sublime combination of freshness and texture.  And only available now!