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  • Writer's picturePeter Antonucci

Cappadocia, Turkey | Day 1

Sunday | October 12, 2014

When I landed in Turkey, I was hustled into a van that brought us to airport passport control. (We had traveled into the country via private jet.) Once inside the van, we heard the words that one never wants to hear – “give me all your passports.” The immigration procedure was a bit more tense than normal, but we all made it through.

Once on the other side of immigration, we met Onders, our guide for Cappadocia. He is a charming chap and we had a nice ride to the hotel. My suite is amazing. It really isn’t a room, it is a series of five caves – two bedrooms, a bathroom, a Jacuzzi room, living room, and the sitting room.

From the square footage standpoint is massive, but the real appeal is the unique nature of the building.  

These caves were created hundreds of years ago and were recently transformed into hotels. There is nothing less than terrific to rave about concerning the accommodations except – the fact that the doorways are made for someone about 5 foot seven. After being in the room for less than half an hour, I already banged and cut the top of my head.

After barely enough time in the cave to brush my teeth, we were hustled off to dinner – and what an incredible dinner it was.  Despite having visited hundreds of international cities and restaurants, this may be the best fine dining experience of my life.  Our hosts were Tolga and his wife, Tuba, and his mother, Havva, and their personalities were only a very close second to the quality of the food.  They live in a traditional stone house in Cappadocia which they have renovated to be a small cooking school. They use only natural fruits, vegetables and spices formed in the room garden. They have traditional arched ceilings and the house is decorated with typical Turkish textiles and rugs. The house is in that small, traditional village of Ayvali, 10 km from Urguup.

Our little group spent the first two hours in the kitchen learning the recipes and preparing the meals.  We cut, diced, rolled, dipped and spread the various food preparations.

Dinner consisted of:

bulger tomato soup;

spinach pastry

pickled peppers, zucchini and carrots

stuffed grape leaves (full of rice)

zucchini flowers

lentil balls with parsely

yogurt, cheese and grape molasses

beef and lamb raviolis

eggplant stuffed with pepper, onion and tomato

honey on custard pudding

Wow!  Back to the cave for bed.Wow, what a day!  


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