By Marion Smith
6 June 2022
Turkish food culture also means fantastic Turkish festivals.
This is exactly what people in Johannesburg got to experience on Saturday the 4 June at Victoria yards. A collaboration of The Turkish Embassy in Pretoria, Yunus Emre institute and event organiser Marion Smith. Guests were spoilt for choice with a variety of stands selling everything from sweets, Turkish bread, baklava, Künefe, Turkish tea and coffee, and a variety of Turkish snacks.
Dedicated to the passionate exploration of cuisines that can never receive enough attention or appreciation, this event encouraged everyone to come out on a winters morning and enjoy the sunshine and array of food. Entering through an avenue of photographic images forming part of Turkeys Charms photo exhibition, which began its journey at Brooklyn Mall in Pretoria set the stage for the country everyone would be stepping into.
For foodies this was a wildly exciting time, it was an experience of Turkish cuisine from professional right through to the wholesome, homestyle cooking fresh from Turkish homes. Renowned restaurant, Nomad from the Mall of Africa prepared fresh Turkish bread as well as doner shawarma. For those with a sweet tooth wanting something to enjoy with their Turkish coffee, the Baklava Guys from Pretoria sold the traditional pastry dessert that is known for its sweet, rich flavour and flaky texture. For those wanting something extra sticky, the traditional middle Eastern cheese pastry dessert Künefe was another option.
The festival was a grand event with a plethora of activities, workshops and experiences open to the public to enjoy. Defy appliances showcased some their products and handed out samples of food made using their appliances. Emir trading gave visitors samples of their sweets that they sell and also displayed their range of carpets. Maarif Schools tempted visitors with lokum ( Turkish delight ) and shared more information about their schools and what they offer for families with children ranging from Grade R up to Grade 9.
Mimi’s designs sold hand made African style hand bags and supplied the beautiful table clothes used at the event adding colour to the otherwise drab winter back drop. Randolira textiles who have a store in Rosebank Mall, displayed their stylish range of mens fashion.
While browsing and eating, visitors were able to experience some of the cultural activities ranging from archery, dot art, characters in different costumes and live performances like Zainub Moolla who read a Yunus Emre poem in Turkish, Danae Issel who sang “ Sen Çal Kapımı “ and the star of the show, Sweet Chorale voices, a choir from Springs who rendered the audience with the performance of of the famous Turkish song Üsküdar’a Gider İken
Anyone with a mild interest in Turkey put this event on their “ to do “ list for the weekend and were over joyed that they did.