Turkish delights

PEOPLE - Joanne Rae M. Ramirez - The Philippine Star

Turkey (officially the Republic of Türkiye) abounds with many delights — from the sights, natural (like Cappadocia) and historic (like Ephesus); the colors (the Grand Bazaar and the ubiquitous carpet shops); and the cuisine.

To introduce the richness and diversity of Turkish gastronomy to Filipino shores and to celebrate Turkish Cuisine Week, an exquisite luncheon was hosted by the Ambassador of Türkiye to the Philippines, Artemiz Sümer, at her official residence. The first-ever Turkish Cuisine Week was organized under the leadership of First Lady Emine Erdo?an, with the support of the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

During the Turkish Cuisine Week, the book Turkish Cuisine with Timeless Recipes was also launched. This landmark cookbook, prepared under the auspices of the First Lady, was written in collaboration with well-known Turkish chefs along with leading gastronomy experts and culinary historians.

The Turkish Cuisine Week was organized simultaneously in Türkiye and in Turkish diplomatic missions all over the world.

Although Filipinos may be familiar with only a few Turkish dishes like kebab and baklava, Turkish cuisine is actually one of the most prominent cuisines in the world. The roots of Turkish culinary culture can be traced back to the 15th century through many Ottoman cookbooks and has been enriched by many different cultures and traditions. Eating Turkish food was always one of the highlights of my visits to Türkiye — like Dolma, fish wrapped in bread eaten by the Bosphorus River, and of course the various “Turkish delights.” I also love to end a meal in Turkey with apple tea and their strong and flavorful coffee.

The guests to Ambassador Sümer’s residence were welcomed to a warm and elegant atmosphere decorated with the famous Iznik pottery in blue and turquoise (incidentally, turquoise comes from the old French word “turquoise” [“Turkish”], Türkiye being the region of extraction of this beautiful stone).

Aside from Turkish Cuisine Week, First Lady Erdo?an also spearheads other initiatives that include “Come on Girls Let’s Go to School,” which aims to provide 100 percent schooling and gender equality; the “Prolific Forest Project,” which aims to expand green areas; and “Zero Waste Project,” which aims to eliminate all waste, especially the kinds that pollute the environment, through recycling and other means. The “Zero Waste Project” received awards last year from the UNDP and UN-Habitat program and was also included in an Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) country report in 2019 as a promising project. More recently, it was honored by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean.

 Turkish Ambassador Artemiz Sumer and Consul General of Monaco Fortune Aleta Ledesma.

DFA Assistant Secretaries Keira Azucena and Jaime Leda.

First Lady of Turkiye

Emine Erdo?an.

Consul of Angola Helen Ong, Edith Lorenzana, Ambassador Sumer, Consul General Ledesma, Consul of Jordan Michael Ang and Third Secretary of Turkey Zecki Kucuk.

‘Class Night,’ 60 years later

 After a two-year lockdown due to the pandemic, and 60 years since grade school, there was no holding back this tightly-knit group of former batchmates from the Ateneo de Manila from reprising their “class night,” albeit without chaperones and teachers watching over them — all the way in La Union. Why, this young-at-heart bunch even jammed with the band at Flotsam and Jetsam in San Juan, La Union!

“It was time to take in some fresh air and refreshing sights; and to rekindle friendships that have lasted for more than 60 years,” says Asterio “Boy” Favis, who spearheaded the trip together with Johnny Filart and Chito Modesto.

This took a band of brothers to La Union, where 33 classmates revived a school tradition known as class nights. In this case, three days and two nights of unforgettable senior moments.

It was a pleasant, traffic-free ride, what with the new expressways unlocking the gateway to the north. In no time, La Union’s famous sun and surf paradise was at hand.

“Revenge travel! No holds barred. No party-poopers. No goody two-shoes. No stick-in-the-muds. It was non-stop fun and frills,” says Ed Ramirez of his batch’s class night.

For these Ateneans, it was a booster shot that energized the spirit and removed the mask that once muffled their boisterous laughter.


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