How did you fall in love?
This is where the love story of Fatih and Fatoş began. (Sigh!)
Did food play a part? How about dried foods?
I doubt that Cemalettin Koncel thought that opening a kuruyemiş (dried fruits and nuts) store was the way to find a wife for his son but it worked, nonetheless.
I visited Fatih Koncel in his element expecting to get information for a post on our favorite Cappadocia kuruyemiş (pronounced koo-roo-ye-mish) store in Ürgüp, but what I found was a sappy love story that would sell very well in Hollywood (or maybe Bollywood would work better with lots of musical numbers!)
Kuruyemiş is one of those wonderful Turkish words that covers what English needs a paragraph to describe. It includes dried fruits, all kinds of nuts and edible seeds, spices and herbs, teas and dried husks, and on and on all displayed in big baskets just inviting you to taste. My kids call the shop “The Candy Store” which gives a good picture of how tasty everything is.
Upon entering the sea of colors and smells we were greeted by Fatoş Kavun who patiently answered all of our questions and showered affection on my kids. As I started asking more personal questions the real story became clear.
Cemalettin has been involved in the kuruyemiş business all of his life. Fatih, his son, grew up watching his dad and fell in love with the trade. Eight years ago as the 26-year-old son was finishing school (18 at that time), the dad opened Yörem Kuruyemiş, the first kuruyemiş store on the main road in Ürgüp (today the street has a few such stores).
Fatih has run the store as his first love since then and has seen quite a few changes over that time as the tourism industry has undergone quite a transformation with far fewer visitors strolling around the main square of town.
Fatoş’ family roots are in Egypt. The family moved to Siirt in southeastern Turkey where she was born. As a child she moved to Ankara where her family is still settled. After high school in 2009 she chose the Literature department of Nevşehir University and moved to Cappadocia. She wants to be a teacher. We had a good time discussing Turkish literature, and she gave me some good suggestions.
BOY MEETS GIRL
In 2011 Fatoş was shopping in Ürgüp with some friends. She entered Fatih’s store, they met, and to use a cliche, the rest is history. They fell in love, he proposed, she accepted, she started working there, and the wedding will be in summer 2013 after her graduation.
While I was hearing this story I was enjoying their homemade tea, made from a combination of at least 10 dried fruits and spices, and snacking on every item in the store. When you visit make sure to sample some of their special recipe tea.
But the love story is not the main draw to Fatih’s shop; the kuruyemiş stands on its own. Below we highlight over 70 of the “goods” you will find at Yörem Kuruyemiş right across from the main square in Ürgüp, Cappadocia. We have listed the name in Turkish, in English, the price as of February 2013, its land of origin, and any interesting notes related to the item.
NUTS & SEEDS
Kabuklu Badem – Almonds in the Shell 15TL/kg – From Adana
Honestly, these are way too much work for me. I think it is worth the price differential to buy the shelled almonds, but I expect this can work against you as well.
Let’s say I am having guests over and do not want them to eat all of my almonds (of course I would never do this, but I am just hypothesizing why someone may buy almonds in the shell. I am probably revealing more about myself than I would like!)
Regardless, I do not want my guests eating all of my expensive almonds so I serve them in the shells. Getting to the almond takes so much work, they only eat one quarter of the amount. Problem solved!
Tuzlu Badem – Salted Almonds 24TL/kg – From Adana
This is more like it. Have you ever heard of buying these raw, soaking them overnight, and then baking them on a low heat for a couple of days until they are dry and crunchy again? We tried that for a while. Apparently it is better for health. I am not sure it is worth it. Any thoughts?
Ayçekerdek Içi – Sunflower Seeds 14TL/kg – Cappadocia
See my comments on shelled almonds above. Unless using for cooking these will disappear way too fast, imho. Honestly, I prefer eating them from the shell. Something about the work involved makes they more enjoyable. Weird, huh?
Ayçekerdeği – Sunflower Seeds in the shell 8TL/kg Cappadocia
There is an art to eating sunflower seeds in Turkey and Central Asia (and maybe other places, but I only have experience here). In America people throw a handful in their cheek and slowly go through them spitting out the shells bit by bit. But here in Turkey they eat them one by one. Take the seed between your thumb and forefinger with the sharp point facing your mouth and the edges up and down, bite it just enough to crack it, twist it and let your tongue catch the seed with the shell still in the grip of your slightly twisted fingers, then throw the seed away and enjoy the tiny morsel. Repeat. They go through them here like Legolas goes through arrows.
Kibris Çekirdeği – Cyprus Sunflower Seeds 8TL/kg
These are long and thin and unlike any sunflower seed I have ever seen. I cannot say the taste is that different, though.
Maybe one of our readers from Cyprus can tell us why they grow such a different breed of sunflowers?
Kaju – Cashews 28TL/kg – From India
Did you know cashews were from India? I did not but cannot say that I am surprised.
I remember growing up eating Planters mixed nuts and cashews were the cream of the crop. My world was very small at that time.
Soslu Fistik – Spicy/Cheesy Peanuts 15TL/kg – from Cappadocia
Think of a nacho cheese peanut.
Cappadocia Leblebi – Cappadocia Chickpeas 10TL/kg
Of all the different chickpeas or garbanzo beans, these are my favorite. They do not have a ton of flavor but are addictive nonetheless. Usually these are thrown into the cheaper mixed nut bags to add mass and so that someone can look in the bowl and say, “Hey, who’s picking out the good stuff and leaving the leblebi! No fair.”
Elaziğ Leblebi – Elaziğ Chickpeas 10TL/kg
Elaziğ is in southeastern Turkey.
I cannot say much about these different kinds of leblebi. My guess is that most people cannot tell the difference except for those from their namesake cities.
Çorum Leblebi – Çorum Chickpeas 10TL/kg – From Çorum
Çorum is just to the north of Cappadocia in Central Turkey, and I have no doubt that people from that otherwise nondescript state say these are the best kind.
Şeker Leblebi – Sugar-coated Chickpeas 15TL/kg – Adana
I can’t say these are my favorites. In fact they are not even on the waiting list, but I know lots of children that love them, and they seem to be ubiquitous when we visit our neighbors for tea.
Kıtır Leblebi – Kitir Chickpeas 12TL/kg Cappadocia
I do not know what Kitir means and have not been able to figure it out. Apparently, it is just a name, no meaning or significance.
Tuzlu Findik – Roasted Salted Hazelnuts 22TL/kg From Samsun
Samsun is on the Black Sea coast and is well-known in this part of the world for hazelnuts.
Ciğ Findik – Raw Hazelnut 22TL/kg – Samsum
Turkey is trying to develop global brands and do a better job of marketing their products. Do you know what the difference between Turkish and Italian olive oil is? Branding and Marketing! The level at which you are aware that hazelnuts come from Turkey’s Black Sea coast, is a good indicator of how well the Turkish marketing/branding people are doing.
Tuzsuz Fındık – Unsalted Hazelnuts 22TL/kg – From Samsum
These are not my favorite by themselves but are great when used in combination with other items (see the Pestil below).
İğde – ? 10TL/kg – From Cappadocia
Any information on these would be much appreciated. I think this is one of those tastes that you have to grow up with to really enjoy. They taste a bit like flavored dirt, in my opinion. I think if this was written in Turkish, that line would get me a lot of hate mail. They may not be that bad, but I can promise you that I do not crave them.
I am not sure there is an English equivalent to İğde. A search on the internet turned up 3 possibilities- Oleaster, Silverberry, and Elaeagnus. But when I looked those up, they look nothing like the Turkish variety. It may be some kind of wild olive. I could believe that, but I would not go to the stake for it. I apologize that I cannot be more helpful. I guess you will just have to come to Cappadocia, visit the kuruyemiş shop, and try it for yourself.
Kabuklu Fıstık – Peanut in Shell 10TL/kg
Being an American guy/sports fan, I cannot look at these without thinking of being at a baseball game and watching the peanut guy show off by slinging a bag down four rows and across 15 seats but under throwing and knocking some guy’s beer over causing a ruckus in the whole section.
Tuzlu Fıstık Içi – Salted, Shelled Peanuts 12TL/kg – from Adana
Adana is in southeast Turkey, and these are hard to beat for an inexpensive, delicious, healthy snack. I think Adana should look to be a sister-state with Georgia in the American southeast (home of many peanut farms).
Ballı Fıstık – Sesame-Covered Honey-Coated Peanuts 18TL/kg – Adana
If it helps to think of honey-roasted peanuts with sesame seeds, you can, but that is not really what these are like. They are not bad, though.
Siirt Fistiği – Pistachios 24TL/kg – (Antep Fistiği different, smaller) 24TL/kg From Siirt
Siirt is in southeast Turkey (original of home of Fatoş the heroine of our love story). The pistachios from Antep are more famous, but personally I like these bigger ones better. The day I was there taking pictures they were out of the Antep pistachios so I understand that it is difficult to differentiate with the one small picture.
Kabak Çekırdeği – Pumpkin Seeds 15TL/kg – Cappadocia
When it comes to addictive these take the cake. This snack is by far my favorite, and as much as I like Fatih, I have to say that the best way to eat these is with a local Cappadocian. They grow their own pumpkins, harvest them for seeds in the late summer/early fall, use their own special spice mix recipes, and they are blow your head off good, in my opinion. But if you do not get to partake with a local friend, then getting them from Fatih is a good second option. I personally eat the seed and shell because it is way too big a hassle to get them out of the shell, however, I know many locals will eat just the seed. If that is the case for you, just buy the shelled ones – see below.
Kabak Çekirdek Içi – Shelled Pumpkin Seeds 28TL/kg – From Cappadocia
Note that these are not the seeds that you get out of your Halloween pumpkins in the USA. This is a yellow, oblong pumpkin that is harvested for the seeds and is generally not eaten by humans (my neighbors feed the pumpkins to their cows). I would not have guessed that the white shells produce these green seeds. Regardless, they are quite tasty.
Ceviz Içi – Shelled Walnuts 35TL/kg – From Cappadocia
We have a few walnut trees in our yard- delicious. The locals eat them before they are ripe which is an interesting flavor, a bit chewy. I always thought these were roasted but they are not. They pick them, take off the green outer shell, and then let them dry. The longer they dry, the crunchier they are.
Ceviz – Walnuts 15TL/kg – from Cappadocia
My kids love sitting with our landlords in the late fall, gathering these up from the yard or using a big stick to bang the branches and catch them as they fall, grabbing a big rock, cracking them open, and eating them bit by tasty bit.
Kavurga – Roasted Wheat 10TL/kg Cappadocia
I tried this and it is nothing to write home about (although I guess I am writing on the blog about it). I cannot say it was bad, but I did not want more than the taste I had.
Menengiç – Menengiç 8TL/kg – From Antep
Gaziantep or just Antep as it is commonly known is located in southeast Turkey. Menengiç comes from there and is somehow part of the pistachio family. I am not sure how as it bears no resemblance. Regardless, it is used to make a pseudo-coffee. I have not tried it but this link gives a great description. Buying it like this I think is just for eating. See below for the coffee.
Menengiç Kahvesi – Menengiç Coffee 13TL or 16TL depending on size – From Antep
I have yet to taste this and get the sense that one must go to Antep to do it right, but, nonetheless, I am quite curious to see how close it comes to coffee, even Turkish coffee.
Soslu Mısır – Corn Nuts 12TL/kg – Cappadocia
Did you eat these as a kid? I remember the first few being great and then I did not like them as much. That is still the case for me. They get to be a bit strong after a few.
Soslu Mısır Çubuk – Cheetohs-like Corn Snack food 15TL/kg – Cappadocia
Think of Cheetohs (the crunchy kind, not the puffs) except with a different taste and texture.
Naturel Karışık – Mixed Nuts, Raisins, & Berries 20TL/kg
This is their own special mix. Excellent!
Pestil – Mulberry Must 25TL/kg Cappadocia (homemade)
I do not know what to call this in English but it is made the same way they make baklava. The outer skin is made of mulberry must (like molasses) and the inside is ground hazelnut. It is delicious. Fatih told me that these are called pestil and could not really explain why. I looked it up on the web and realized that pestil is the Turkish word for mulberry must which is used to make the outer skin (sometimes called mulberry leather). Somehow this is used to also describe the whole food as well as the outside part.
FRUITS & BERRIES
Kara Dut – Black Mulberry 12TL/kg From Cappadocia
I do not like these as much as the white variety by themselves, but I think the must/molasses that is made from mulberries is better using the darker kind. Can anyone verify this?
Beyaz Dut – White Mulberry 12TL/kg – From Cappadocia
We grow these in our yard as well. They are not bad, but if you have a tree you can expect to have a huge mess as they fall off the tree when ripe and are sticky and gooey.
Kayısı Çekirdeği Içi – Seed of Apricot Pit 18TL/kg – From Cappadocia
You get these by cracking open the apricot pit and extracting the seed. They look like almonds but do not taste like them. The good ones have a nice flavor, almost sweet. The bad ones have a bitter taste. Fortunately, most are good. Our neighbors love them and will spend a few hours on a Saturday morning opening and eating them.
Ekşi Kayısı Kurusu – Dried Sour Apricots 14TL/kg – From Cappadocia
Malatya, in eastern-central Turkey, is most known for apricots. Chances are if you buy dried apricots at Trader Joes or somewhere similar, they come from Malatya. However, the Cappadocia apricots are quite delicious. We have a few trees in our yard, and they keep our kids full from August to late September. This particular kind (in the picture) is more sour.
Gün Kurusu Çekirdekli Kayısı – Sun-Dried Apricot with Pit 12TL/kg Cappadocia
This is what they look like when they are dried in the sun without sulfur. When I lived in Uzbekistan I watched the whole process with sulfur, and it is quite fascinating and involved. Here I watch our village neighbors dry their fruits without sulfur, and it could not be easier and less sanitary.
Zerdali Ekşi Kayısı – Zerdali Sour Apricot 12TL/kg Cappadocia
Zerdali is just the name for this kind of apricot. It does not have a meaning as far as I can tell. It should not be confused with a town in the state of Adana.
Şeker Pare Tatlı Kayısı Kurusu – Sweet Dried Apricot 12TL/kg Cappadocia
These are apparently the best kind of apricot. We have one of these trees, and I would agree that they are outstanding. You can see the difference with the appearance as well here. These were dried using a different process than the ones above (most likely using sulfur).
Gün Kurusu Kayısı – Sun-Dried Apricots 14TL/kg Cappadocia
Notice how these are cut in half and dried without the pit and without the sulfur process. Quite different from the Şeker Pare variety above.
Altın Uzum – Golden Raisins 12TL/kg – From Izmir
Izmir is on the Aegean coast. I have not seen the yellow grapes in Cappadocia. Does anyone know why they need a different climate than the green or purple grapes?
Kalecik Karası Kuru Üzüm – Kaleci Karası Raisins 12TL/kg Cappadocia
Please forgive the photo. These are black raisins, quite a bit bigger than California raisins. Most raisins you get in Turkey will have seeds. You need to ask for raisins without seeds if you want them. Personally, I do not like raisins with seeds even though everyone here keeps telling me how good the seeds are for health.
Yaban Mersin – Cranberries 28TL/kg – From Trabzon
Trabzon is on the Black Sea coast, and these are delicious.
The Turkish name is literally translated something like foreign berry and seems to refer to many different berries including blueberries and currants and has nothing to do with the Turkish city by the same name (Mersin).
Kudus Hurma Kurusu – Dates 24TL/kg – Israel
These are mostly sold during Ramazan, the Muslim month of fasting, as they are often used to break the fast each evening. If they were not so expensive, we would eat them constantly. Can anyone tell me if they are like this when they are picked or if they are dried or otherwise processed?
Muşmula – Common Medlar 10TL/kg – From Cappadocia
In Turkish this word also means “wrinkled face” which is quite fitting given the look of this fruit. The taste is hard to describe. You will have to try it when you visit.
Apparently, these are quite acidic and not edible when first picked but after a time of softening the flavor becomes more mild and enjoyable (depending on your taste). They are used in jellies as well.
Incir – Dried Figs 14TL/kg Aydin
Aydin is near the Aegean Sea, and if you have not tried Turkish figs (either ripe or dried), you must when you visit. Wonderful!
Kabuklu Elma Kurusu – Dried Apple with Skins 14TL/kg Cappadocia
They include these in their homemade tea, and I was surprised at how good it was. At the same time I could snack on these all day and feel good about it.
Gölgede Kuruyor Golden Elma – Shade-Dried Golden Apples 20TL/kg – Cappadocia
You can see the significant difference between these which do not see the sun and the sun-dried variety above. Of course, it is a different kind of apple, but the drying process makes a substantial difference in the final product.
Çekirdeksiz Siyah Mürdüm Erik Kurusu – Seedless Dried Plums (Prunes) 16TL/kg Cappadocia
I expect to be eating a lot more of these in about 30 years, but for now I am good.
Sarı Erik Kurusu – Dried Yellow Plum 16TL/kg Cappadocia
We have one of these trees in our yard as well, and this may be my favorite fruit. I prefer it ripe to dried. The taste always leaves you a little bit dissatisfied and wanting another one to satiate the hunger, but it never works. Needless to say, the fruit on this tree does not last long!
Kuru Muz – Dried Bananas 25TL/kg – From Thailand
What needs to be said? These are like sweet potato chips.
Kuru Zincefil – Dried Ginger 25TL/kg – From Thailand
I was surprised that I like this.
Kuru Ananas – Dried Pineapple 25TL/kg – From Thailand
If it comes from Thailand, it is good.
Mango – Dried Mango 25TL/kg – From Thailand
I am not sure if I like dried mango or fresh mango better? In Cappadocia, I do not really have a choice.
Kuru Çilek – Dried Strawberries35TL/kg From Thailand
These are the highlight of a visit to Fatih’s place and the reason my kids call it the candy store. Wow!
Gojiberi – Goji Berries 60TL/kg – From Thailand
See our post on Cappadocia’s Garden of Eden to learn more about these.
Karışık Kuru Meveler – Dried Fruit Mix 18TL/kg
This is another homemade mix you can only get from Fatih.
Kece Boynuzu – Carob 8TL/kg – Isparta and Mersin
Isparta is in west-central Turkey and Mersin is in the southeast on the Mediterranean coast. These have all kinds of uses including a natural healer for diarrhea. Click on the link above to learn more.
Köftür – Kuftur (Grape Delight) 16TL/kg Cappadocia
Honestly, I am not sure what this is, but apparently it is similar to Turkish Delight but made out of grape molasses (pekmez), starch, and flour.
Sarma – 28TL/kg Cappadocia
This stuff is good. It sort of looks like a rope. The outside coating is sweet, made out of differet fruit syrup like pomegranate and grape, and it is stuffed with things like pistachios and other nuts. Worth a try for sure.
Tarhana (toz) – Tarhana powder 18TL/kg from Cappadocia
The best Tarhana soup I have had in Cappadocia was at the Babayan Village House Restaurant in Ibrahimpaşa.
Yaprak Ihlamur – Linden Tea 70TL/kg – From Cappadocia
This is a linden-flower herbal tea that has no caffeine. According to my research (see the link above) it helps with coughs and colds.
Yeşil Fasulye Kurusu – Dried Green Bean Husks 7TL/string – From Cappadocia
These as well as the okra below are used for soups which naturally dehydrates them.
Kuru Bamya – Dried Okra 80TL/kg – From Cappadocia
I love fried okra and Texas-style pickled okra but I have not found either here unless we make it ourselves. They seem to cook and serve okra similar to how we would do green beans.
Dolmalık Patlican – Eggplant Skin (for stuffing) 7TL/string – From Cappadocia
I grew up eating stuffed bell peppers. In Turkey they eat those (dolma) but they also use eggplant as the outer skin.
Musakkalık Patlıcan Kurusu – Dried Eggplant Strips 7TL/string – Cappadocia
Turks love eggplant (aubergine for the Europeans out there) and so do I. Fatih sells three different cuts of dried eggplant: the skin for stuffing (photo above), these strips, and the medallions for frying below.
Kızartmalık Patlıcan Kurusu – Dried Eggplant Slices (for frying) 7TL/string Cappadocia
Can anyone explain to me why Americans call this eggplant and Europeans call it aubergine? Does this mean it was discovered after America was founded? So many questions. Bonus points to anyone who can give a believable answer.
Dolmalık Kabak Kurusu – Pumpkin Rind (for stuffing) 7TL/string from Cappadocia
See Eggplant skins above- same idea but with pumpkin.
Kızartmalık Biber Kurusu – Dried Red Pepper (for frying) 7TL/kg Cappadocia
Apparently, these are not as spicy as the ones below. I think they are actually the sweet variety but am not sure.
Acı Biber Kurusu – Dried Hot Red Pepper 7TL/string Cappadocia
The peppers and eggplant have two varieties: one from Cappadocia and one from Antep. These are from Cappadocia
Dolmalık Acur – Like a cucumber/melon (but not really) 7TL/string Cappadocia
“A member of the squash family (Cucurbitaceae), this long, ribbed and rarely, fuzzy vegetable resembles a cucumber but is actually a species of melon. It is also know as Hıta.” (See the link above.) I have never tried it like this but love it pickled.
Baharat Seti 12 spices 10TL/kg
Many visitors just want some spices to take home. This is the set for you. 12 spices for under $6 is a good deal. And don’t you think Kaylie and Weston have a future in food modeling?
Do you have a favorite?
If you cannot make it over to Ürgüp, you should check out Cemil’s place in Avanos.
Did you enjoy this post? If so, here’s what you can do. Please share this post with your friends by clicking on one of the buttons below or to the side. Also, you may want to subscribe to these posts. Click here and follow the instructions. One of my goals is to help people who will visit Cappadocia. This is your way to help me meet this goal. Thank you, I am grateful.