July 2015: Assos
Yes, we are in Assos, the ancient village known nowadays as Behramkale which overlooks the beautiful Aegean and the Greek island of Lesbos.
Friday was market day. It is held every Friday, rain or shine, summer or winter, simultaneously in the nearby towns of Ayvacık and Küçükküyü which are equidistant from here. I find them both very attractive in their different ways: the former is much more traditional and there you will find colourful Yörük women often with their children bound to their backs in age-old fashion who enrich the scene considerably. The latter market in the small seaside town of Küçükküyü is a totally different scene. For a start the local population consists mostly of retirees from the big cities eg teachers so the market has a more upbeat feel to it. I wouldn’t like to call it sophisticated but it definitely has a different vibe to the first market.
Guess which one I prefer to go to? Yes, you guessed it! I almost always shop at Ayvacık market as I love the buzz and colour of market day which the villagers who come in from miles around bring to it. It’s as traditional as it gets.
What does this new, warmer season have to offer?
The sign says Local barbun – which is what these attractive red beans are called. They are very popular cooked the traditional way in olive oil.
Fruit-wise, there are still loads of cherries but now we are starting to see peaches and nectarines. The apricots are absolutely delicious – buy them now and make some tarts. That’s what I am doing. You will see melons around as well but in my experience, you either have to have a well-trusted source or just be plain lucky. Most of them are pretty tasteless. And if you disagree with me, you don’t know how fabulous melons used to taste.
The prices at both markets are fantastic, especially in Ayvacık. Everything costs more or less one lira per kilo, per bunch etc.
And re my fridge situation which I briefly touched on in a recent post: new Bosch is on its way… can’t wait. Watch this space.
Here in Assos we are eating fresh fish when we go out. As I am sure you are aware, there is an official fishing ban on at the moment (it will end in September) so most fish in restaurants in Istanbul will be either frozen or farmed. Here, it is caught in local waters by fishermen in their little fishing boats, which is fine. Tonight we had iskorpit, apparently called scorpion fish in English. Distinctive taste and very well cooked in a broth: buğlama. However, I do think my favourite way of cooking – and eating – fish is grilled/ızgara.
So at last, everything has changed and we are truly into summer vegetables and fruits. No more greenhouse tomatoes or eggplants from Antalya. Summer is late this year but at long last, everything is responding to the season.