BALIKESIR - Anatolia News Agency
A famous drink of Balıkesir’s Susurluk district, Susurluk ayran, receives interest from foreign tourists as well as Turks. Thousands of glasses are consumed on the İzmir–Istanbul highway during summer
Susurluk’s famous ayran draws interest for its creamy foam and taste, different from other types of ayran thanks to some unique features.
Susurluk ayran (a drink made with yoghurt and water), which is unique to the northwestern province of Balıkesir’s Susurluk district and has become famous abroad as well as in Turkey since 1950s, draws particular interest for its creamy foam and taste. The ayran is so delicious because it is made of natural yoghurt.
Balıkesir and its surroundings, which hold an important place in agriculture and stockbreeding, are placed among Turkey’s top areas in terms of milk production. Susurluk has a significant potential in stockbreeding, with nearly 30,000 cattle, 10,000 goats and more than 30,000 sheep.
Susurluk ayran, which is different other types of ayran thanks to a number of unique features, is sold by dozens of facilities, shops and gas stations on the İzmir-Istanbul highway. It was first produced and sold by “ayran seller Şükrü” in the 1950s, and started to be widely consumed by passersby on the highway thanks to the advice of those who taste it.
Susurluk ayran, which has won great fame over time, is made and consumed in many parts of the country, but it is said that its real taste can only be reached where it originated, in Susurluk.
Ömer Balkan, who has been producing and selling Susurluk ayran for more than 30 years, said the ayran took its taste from the district’s stockbreeding, meadows and its natural yoghurt. “Most of all, it takes its taste from the quality of milk. The real secret in its taste is its natural skimmed yoghurt. We keep this secret in its foam,” he said.
Balkan said the ayran was prepared by transferring it from one bucket to another, thus creating foam, and continued: “This foam is whole skimmed and does not disappear immediately. We mix it at intervals and keep the foam alive. Almost all people who pass through the region do not leave without drinking ayran. Some people drink it with Susurluk toast. The price of toast is 2 Turkish Liras and ayran is 1.5 liras, so one can be full at a very cheap price. The cheese that we use in toast is natural cow’s fat cheese, which is unique to the region. It is also nutritious.”
Foreigners call it ‘creamy ayran’
Balkan said that the yoghurt used in Susurluk ayran was produced with a mixture of cow, buffalo and sometimes sheep milk, causing its taste and foam to be different from others. “Thousands of glasses of ayran are sold on the İzmir-Istanbul highway, especially during summer months. Foreign tourists show big interest too, and most of them call it creamy ayran,” he said.
Balkan said that those drinking Susurluk ayran for the first time often wonder about how its foam is created. “I sometimes joke that I have added detergent to it. When it is poured, Susurluk ayran does not lose its foam for minutes. You should wait for five minutes in order to understand if it is real Susurluk ayran or not. If the foam does not disappear it is the real ayran of Susurluk, made with natural yoghurt. If the foam disappears it is only regular ayran.”