[Turkey] Exploring Istanbul with Gastromasa 2017

After exploring Cappadocia, we made our way to Istanbul for the 3rd International Gastromasa Gastronomy Conference but not before doing a bit of exploration in the cultural capital of Turkey first! The first activity that we did was to attend a baklava workshop at one of the most famous baklava shop Karakoy Gulluoglu. After donning some hairnet and protective cover for our clothes and shoes, we visited the factory where we got to watch how baklava comes to life from rolling out the phyllo dough with only 0.1mm in thickness, adding the various fillings, and finally finishing up with a hot syrup glaze. Here they showed us how thin their dough was by holding up a welcome sign for us from behind it!

Adding the pistachio fillings into the baklava.

After cutting the baklava, it was ready to go into the oven.

After the baklava had been baked, it still needed to go through one last step which was the super hot syrup bath.
Don't you just want to try them all?

After the baklava workshop, it was lunch time and we enjoyed a nice afternoon at Mukellef Karakoy which was located at the top of a boutique hotel with beautiful views of the city and delicious food and wine to match. 

I could definitely get used to drinking Turkish wine with this view everyday.

We then walked off our lunch with a historical city tour at the Hagia Sophia - one of the most visited tourist attraction in Turkey. Considered an architectural wonder and an epitome of Byzantine architecture, it served as a Christian church, mosque and now a museum. 

We also visited the Tokapi Palace nearby which used to be the headquarters of Ottoman sultans. It now contains an impressive collection of Ottoman clothing, weapons, armors and religious relics.

While we didn't get to go inside, we did see the Sultan Ahmed Mosque (aka Blue Mosque) in the distance. 

No trip to Istanbul is complete without a visit to the Spice Bazaar! Built in 1660, it is one of the most famous covered shopping complex and you can find a variety of colorful spices, sweets, tea, etc. here - I even found a tea named “Melisa”!

Alas it was time for the 3rd Annual Gastromasa Gastronomy Conference where top chefs from around the world spoke about the theme “Product”! Chefs discussed issues close to their heart, shared what their favorite ingredient was and did cooking demonstrations throughout the day. The impressive lineup of speakers included:

Joan Roca of El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, Spain

Virgilio Martinez of Central Restaurant in Lima, Peru

Hiroyasu Kawate of Florilege in Tokyo, Japan

Diego Guerrero of DSTAGE in Madrid, Spain

David Thompson of Nahm in Bangkok, Thailand

Luigi Taglienti of Lume in Milan, Italy

Mauro Colagreco of Mirazur in Menton, France

Mitsuharu Tsumura of Maido in Lima, Peru

Gianluca Fusto - pastry consultant in Milan, Italy

James Chen of Fika Fika in Taipei, Taiwan

Many thanks to the Gastromasa team for bringing all of us together! 

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