Turkish cuisine is a true gastronomic crossroads, astonishingly rich and varied, with Far Eastern, Central Asian, Iranian, Anatolian, and Mediterranean layers. Award-winning chef Ana Sortun, who uses all these flavors in her cooking, served as our guide as we enjoyed cooking demonstrations, a cruise down the Bosphorus, visits to markets, bakers and cheesemongers, a tour of the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia, talks with local culinary experts, and more.

Itinerary at a Glance

Day 1
Travelers arrive at Hotel Seven Hills in Istanbul. Orientation reception. Welcome dinner at Hamdi, a classic kebab and meze restaurant.

Day 2
Cooking demo with Musa Dagdeviren and Ana Sortun at Çiya Restaurant on the Asia side of the Bosphorus. Explore the nearby market and visit a bakery. Early evening cruise down the Bosphorus. Dinner on your own.

Day 3
Visit Taksim Flower Passage with Ana to learn about – and shop for – spices. Lunch and afternoon free to explore. Dinner at Giritli Restaurant.

Day 4
Tour of the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia. Lunch at Sultanahmet Kôftecisi, including a visit to the kitchen. Ayfer Unsal will explain the custom of reading fortunes in coffee grounds. Dinner at Korfez, a seafood restaurant on the Asia side.

Day 5
Free morning. Cooking demo at Feriye restaurant with Ana, centered on Turkish spices, followed by lunch. Tour of Topkapi Palace. Dinner on your own.

Day 6
Lunch with Engin Akin who will explain Turkish food from “Pastoral to Palace” while we taste dishes. Explore Istanbul. Gala Dinner at Feriye.

Day 7
Tour one of Ana’s favorite markets in the Besiktas neighborhood, and visit a cheese shop. Wine and cheese tasting. Dinner on your own.

Day 8
Say our farewells and leave for home.