Category: Mersin

In my family, we celebrate Easter twice; once with everyone and again with the Orthodox. This year, it was a week apart. It can be the same week-end or even five weeks apart, depending on the year.

The first Easter week-end, we spent the bunny day at my brothers. Hid the eggs for the kids to find, did the egg tapping and as usual over ate.

I want to talk about the Orthodox Easter.

As you know Easter is a Christian holiday that starts on the Good Friday by the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and ends with his resurrection on Easter Sunday.

In the orthodox church, in Mersin, (my hometown located in south of Turkey) on Good Friday morning all the ladies go to church and bring flowers to decorate Jesus tomb.

It is a tradition that I love. Everybody is involved. The adults prepare the flowers and the kids put the colored eggs in bags; some ladies stay in the kitchen and prepare a giant tabbouleh.

A tabbouleh is a middle eastern salad made of bulgur (wheat), tomato, onion, and finely chopped parsley and mint, seasoned with olive oil, lemon juice and salt.

Once it is ready, the priest invites us in, and we all share the tabbouleh with bread and salad leaves.

This year was the first time that we brought my niece and nephew with us. While I was getting rid of the thorns, they were assisting me on taking out the extra leaves of roses. Later I put them in duty with the eggs. Once all the eggs in bags, the priest blessed them.

After all the tasks, we went inside the church and passed three times under Jesus tomb to represent the three days of Easter and prayed.

The cutest thing was my nephew who asked me in which language he should pray: Turkish or French. I have answered he can choose the language he wanted.

I think it is always important to keep some traditions. Even though, the kids are too young to understand the meaning of the crucifixion and resurrection, they understand getting together and praying for Jesus Christ.

Sure, they prayer can be basic, such as for the sick dog or to have a special dish for lunch… but it still brings them to church and enjoy it…

Happy Easter everyone!!!

I have already told you in my previous posts about my home town: Mersin in Turkey.

Mersin (population of 1.5 mio) is a major commercial city and shipping port on Turkey’s eastern Mediterranean coast, but not a major tourist destination.

It is a beautiful city near the sea, great weather with palm trees along the roads. It is also a city where nothing much happens. I love it, cause I have so many child memories, and I have my brother, niece and nephew who live there, as well.

There is another reason why I love Mersin: “Tantuni”.

Tantuni is a dish born in Mersin, and it became known all around Turkey. It is meat wrapped in lavash bread (a flat bread that is the equivalent of a tortilla).

It started to be a dish for people without much money, they will place the meat cooked with lots of lungs and fat into a roll and eat it. With time, this wrap became the most favorite street food of Mersin.

The preparation is a whole ritual. They grill thin strips of beef and keep them warm on the side of a massive circular pan with a concave depression in the middle. When they need to prepare a wrap, the cook scoops some of the beef up and reheats it in the middle of the pan in a steamy combination of oil and water, creating thin gravy.

He places the meat in the lavash bread (that he soaks with the meat’s juice), adds some tomatoes, onions (not for me), parsley and a combination of spices (sumac, red pepper, cumin…). Once all the ingredients are in the flat bread, he rolls it.

To the idea, I am salivating… I highly advise to eat it with some lemon on top.

If my friends from Mersin reads that, they will probably laugh cause everybody knows that I am hooked to Tantuni. I think whenever I go to the city, I have to have at least once a day that delicious wrap. I buy always from “Sabit Tantuni”, whom I believe does his yearly income thanks to me ;)

The good news is that I hooked up my niece as well; so besides the fact that I enjoy my yummy wrap, I share it with her!!!!

I know I know it has been a while that I didn’t write anything on my blog… well because after I returned from Rome, went to Turkey for a week to take care of my brother’s munchkins. And off course if I were in Istanbul, I would have shared all the happening stuff, but I was in Mersin; my little Mediterranean town, where basically nothing happens.
I normally go there either just to see the family and have a food coma, all the food that reminds me my childhood… so I try not to stay long just to not gain that much weight ;)
To arrive there is a challenge, from Geneva you take the first flight to Istanbul, then a second flight to Adana, and then you have 60 km to drive to arrive to Mersin. All this with Turkish Airlines, I have to admit they are quickly becoming a great company, but I was shocked that in Istanbul no one checked my ID. Between the time I arrived to the lounge and boarded, I have talked with 4 or 5 employees about my seat or my plane, and not one single person asked to see my ID. So I basically could have stolen someone else’s ticket and travel. You will tell me how many people would steal a ticket for Adana… but still…
As I have spent my days running around with the kids, I haven’t discovered any secret spots, although I would advise every person in this whole world to taste Tantuni. It’s a street food; basically beef prepared in a special sauce wrapped in bread. Whenever I am far from Mersin, I dream about it. I think I buy my Tantuni from the same shop for 15 years now. Whenever I am in town they do their yearly profit as I basically have to eat every day, and trained my niece who became a fan as well.
So beside the love fest that I got from the kids, and the food coma that I entered, nothing really special to report. It was just great to have a week off from travelling. Now back to Geneva, with few extra pounds, but definitely rested and ready to discover new summer spots…
In my plans have definitely New York and Istanbul, but also St Tropez, Portofino, Forte dei Marmi and Morocco …