Pamper me with hampers!

Pamper me with hampers!

As we are now in the final week towards Christmas, it is now time to pack the gifts. As I am always inclined towards gastronomic gifts I tend to pick or prepare mine usually at the latest time possible. This year I think we have more choices than ever, almost everything is now available for home delivery. Due to COVID-19, even your Christmas dinner might be knocking on your door, warm and ready to eat. Most restaurants are also in the process of preparing gift packages of their own products and products of their major artisanal suppliers. Many are now very active in home-delivery through in İstanbul, an app that brings together the upscale restos to the new food delivery system. Fuudy newly opened a section dedicated to New Year orders. For the time being, the list is short, but it will expand soon, so keep watching.

Some restaurants had a tough time during the closedowns, but some were luckier. Alaf is one of them. Their outdoor terrace enabled them to remain active during the summer. They even opened a branch in Bodrum and were quick in adopting the changes. But the more interesting part is definitely Alaf Bakkal, where they sell both their products from their kitchen and the selected products from their purveyors. My hamper included the Hermus Arbequina olive oil, a variety elusive in Turkey, and pomegranate extract from Punica, the one and only brand I trust, savor and favor when it comes to pomegranates. There are other olive oil brands that deserve to be gifted. The elegantly packed Asiltane is very chic, and the special limited edition has the unique quality of having the minimum possible time from picking to pressing. The olives in the limited-edition bottle were picked between the dates Sept. 27-Oct. 15 and from the picking to the pressing, the maximum time lapse was 164 minutes. Another cheerful creation came from Rengin Suar. In addition to her usual quality olive oils, she also has the ones pressed together with tangerines and oranges that are perfect for roast duck or goose, or with lemons or thyme, ideal to add a kick to mezes and salads.

Hermus Olive Oils:
Asiltane olive oils:
Rengin suar olive oils:

Another restaurant that delivers both food and its own products is Seraf. They have prepared a special roast turkey menu, but also check their list for pickles, jams, tomato and pepper pastes, breads and other food options. Last but not least, whatever you put on the table, your taste will be guaranteed by the amazing range of products from Chef Seasons. When I discovered they were also producing the mulled wine spice mix by Gizzia, which I used to hunt in supermarkets, it got me excited as now I can order their amazing range of products online, including the perfect mulled wine seasoning, the classic or the orange and star anise version. I can easily swear on anything produced by them. Their roasted spices are produced by a uniquely created method by them, but the real news will be popped up soon. They will be supplying salt flakes to the meat master Salt Bae Nusret. The Aegean Sea salt, which is specially harvested in the form of the finest flake possible, is pretty much like the glittery crystal snowflakes of the Christmas season.

Chef Seasons:

Citrus fruits glow like sunshine on a winter day. Thanks to the latest home-delivery systems, many producers can deliver directly from the orchards right to your door. I recently had a big box of Seferihisar’s Satsuma tangerines, still slightly wet with their morning dew, together with a bonus jar of tangerine jam and dried slices of tangerines, perfect for Christmas time Negroni or Manhattan cocktails. The former mayor, Tunç Soyer, had drying facilities introduced so that local farmers can benefit and make use of their surplus produce. Similarly, you can have your perfect juicy Finike oranges delivered directly from the orange grove, together with other citrusy delights. It must be noted that both the Seferihisar tangerines and Finike oranges have geographical appellation indication. When mentioning citrusy delights, a special mention goes to Etrog Confectionary from Adana, which turns every single citrus fruit to fine confiture, and now, they have a new line of Turkish delights boosting with citrusy notes. Their candied oranges made their way to the Panettone Tradizionale made by chef Claudio Chinali in Eataly, bringing a bit of local Mediterranean sunshine to an Italian Christmas Natale delight!