Hotels and other establishments that draw a substantial number of tourists have begun to turn their attention towards regional Turkish cuisine, aiming to invigorate tourism and extend it beyond the summer months.
Tourism professionals in Türkiye are planning to overcome the seasonality of tourism, which is currently concentrated in the three-month summer period, by diversifying activities and initiatives. They have initiated their first move in the realm of hotel cuisine.
Kaan Kavaloğlu, a board member of the Turkish Tourism Promotion and Development Agency (TGA), noted that multiple scenarios are on the agenda to extend tourism throughout the year, emphasizing that gastronomic tourism has already become a significant point of interest for Türkiye.
“In this context, Antalya could take the lead. We have always featured Turkish cuisine in our kitchens, but now we are broadening the scope.”
In addition to internationally renowned Turkish flavors such as baklava or kebab,the sector is now focusing on regional cuisines from all over the country.
“For instance, we have started offering special tastes from the Yörük cuisine in our hotels in the first stage, and it has been highly popular. We will leverage these tastes stemming from our culture as a marketing asset.”
Yörüks were nomadic Turkish groups mainly inhabiting in the mountainous regions of southern Türkiye. One notable characteristic of the constantly migrating Yörük people was their ability to prepare quick and practical meals. In Yörük culture, the staple food item was phyllo, and they prepared primarily flour-based dishes.
Kavaloğlu emphasized that these innovations will not be limited to Yörük flavors alone, adding that undiscovered or lesser-known tastes from different parts of Anatolia will also take center stage in promoting the country.
“We aim to encompass all our regions in this change. In the coming periods, the impact of this culinary transformation will increase even more as this potential that started with Yörük cuisine has surprised all of us,” Kavaloğlu explained.
“In the future, when we mention cultural heritage, it won’t only bring archaeological remnants to mind. Because we have begun introducing the hidden yet culturally valuable flavors of our regions to both local and foreign guests.”
“Families with children tend to choose us [hotels] more often. And these families usually don’t leave the hotel during their holidays. In this system, experiences within the hotel become much more crucial. We are well aware that the promotion made by a happy and satisfied tourist is invaluable.”
Similarly, during the Oscar party held in Los Angeles, the U.S., on the night of March 27, celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck included Black Sea pita (pide in Turkisk) and apricot dessert with clotted cream on the menu.
“To introduce Turkish cuisine to the world, they need to move beyond kebabs. Turkish cuisine offers a multitude of flavors beyond kebabs. There are various types of pide, all sorts of eggplant dishes, and more. Restaurants that offer Turkish flavors other than kebabs should be opened. In my opinion, the best turbot is found in the Black Sea, as is the case with blue fish. These are magnificent flavors,” Puck earlier stated.