8 Days Rustic Cooking Holidays in Turkey

  • Gokpinar village, Bodrum, Mumcular, Turkey

Overview

Cooking Vacation in Turkey

One of the most enjoyable aspects of any foreign travel is the food! Turkish cuisine brings you rich flavours and the wonderful smells and colours of fresh foods to delight your senses, body and soul. Enjoy Turkish coffee and learn how to make it. Learn Turkish cuisine from an accomplished local cook, with all lessons translated in English in a friendly, homely and creative atmosphere. Gokpinar's mountain top views and construction of local stone create beautiful locations for every meal. Shopping at the local markets offers the best of food, clothing, kitchen goods and many other items for daily Turkish life.

Highlights

  • 20 recipes
  • Cooking classes
  • Near beaches visits
  • Local markets visits in Bodrum
  • Unlimited Turkish tea and coffee
  • 7 nights accommodation
  • Airport transfers
  • 8 days with instruction
  • English
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Our house is newly redecorated, but its life & foundation is as a traditional village house. Here, we provide 6 bright, airy bedrooms, sharing 2 bathrooms (providing 24-hour hot water service). Our roof is covered with a nomadic style tent for relaxing and sleeping under stars. The land surrounding our hilltop house has spectacular views, and the treehouses and garden rooms are ideal for a great sleep in the natural delights of the Turkish countryside.

Our comfortable, airy guest rooms have great views of the countryside. We decorated in Turkish style, with kilims created locally covering our floors and walls. Double and single beds are available. We invite you to stay with us at Gokpinar Retreat Center, a place with the special, warm welcome of Turkish hospitality!

In Gokpinar, every season is a special time. Come join us and experience each season, in which every location will beckon to people who like to enjoy life. Vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, onions, beans & eggplant are picked every day from our garden & cooked in a traditional way. Turkish food is delicious, and meals include fresh, organic vegetables or salads, soups, fruit, meats, fish, breads and sweets. Seasonal ingredients create a variety of healthy traditional dishes. Al fresco barbeques are very popular and suit the Turkish love of feasting outdoors.

CaravanTurkey

CaravanTurkey Group

We are one of the leading special travel & retreat company based in Turkey, with branch offices in the US & UK, specialised in individual and small group travel. We create cultural & well-being programmes for individuals and groups. The aim of the company is to show our guests uncommercial Turkey in a relaxed way of travel and share our original culture.

Bulent Dogan, the founder of CaravanTurkey had started this business during his years in the university where he studied Tourism & Hotel Management. He then succeeded to be a Professional tour guide. He has been personally guiding our special interest groups since 1996.

It is our pleasure to share these wonderful moments with you. We also thank the entire CaravanTurkey team -- from drivers, local guides, hotel and cruise staff, and particularly the individuals you may never see on your journey, although their work helps make your trip one you always treasure. Hope to meet you soon in Turkey, the country where the continents meet.

Gokpinar Retreat Center

Located in a nomadic village with the aim of showing our guests real turkish traditional life and provide cultural workshops by professional teachers and locals.

Morning Tour Travel Services

Our licensed travel company branch in Turkey by the Turkish Ministry of Tourism specialised in travel services for individuals and special interest groups of small sizes. Our team at CaravanTurkey comes together after many years of experience in travel, teaching, music, dance, and business.

TurkishBellyDance

This is the branch name of CaravanTurkey group specialised in bellydance travel & retreats, which is the market leader in Turkey, with the most experience since 1996. Each of us shares a love of Turkish culture and a desire to reveal the treasures that make this land a unique, unforgettable travel experience.

Gokpinar Retreat Center is located on the Aegean Coast of Turkey. We are located on a hilltop, surrounded by gorgeous views of rolling countryside & a traditional Turkish village. The center is twenty minutes drive from Bodrum International Airport, and we are only 15 minutes drive from some of the best beaches of the area.

Distances

  • Bodrum airport, 20 kilometers
  • Bodrum city center, 38 kilometers
  • Didyma,120 kilometers
  • Ephesus,180 kilometers
  • Euromos, 42 kilometers
  • Guvercinlik beach, 13 kilometers
  • Iassos, 40 kilometers
  • Istanbul - 45-minutes flight
  • Pamukkale, 220 kilometers

Turkish cuisine brings you rich flavors and the wonderful smells and colors of fresh foods to delight your senses, body and soul. Because Gokpinar is surrounded by scented pine woods, our village produces honey that is naturally dark and richly flavored, perfect for breakfast or as a snack with cay (delicious, traditional Turkish tea).

Food in Turkish culture is thousands of years old, and we are the crossroads of some of the most exotic, powerful, and wealthy lands in human history. Here, history mixes with the culture of our nomadic ancestors and the result is a unique, fascinating holiday. You will find a delightful, unforgettable experience waiting for you.

During this vacation you will delight with:

All meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner) plus unlimited tea and coffee service, drinking water are included in this cooking package. Of course all breakfasts, lunches, dinners will be prepared with hands-on cooking classes.

Everyone will enjoy the many kinds of organic vegetables we grow in our own garden. Some of our guests choose to relax by gardening with us. Afterwards, there is always the chance to pick fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, corn, beans, squash, melons, and other fruit. We have several kinds of fruit trees, and watermelon is a refreshing treat for us all summer.

Gokpinar does not produce its own wine, but there are very nice regional wines available from nearby Aegean villages. Turkey is also famous for Raki, an anise-flavored liquor that will give you another taste of our culture.

Olive trees are the main source of income in our village. Every October, we collect olives and use the traditional ways to make pure, delicious olive oil. Green olives are also prepared here for eating.

Sorry, but we do not have hamburgers in Gokpinar. But we use beef, chicken, fish and lamb in our wonderful Turkish cuisine. Vegetarians are not the only ones happy here.

Visitors are allowed to bring their own drinks to center.

Turkish cuisine sample menu

Bulgur pilavi (village rice)

In a large pan fry onion and peppers in a little olive oil until tender. Add pureed tomato and simmer for a few minutes. Add mint and bulgur and cook over low heat for 3 minutes. Add 2 cups boiling water and one teaspoon salt. Stir, lower heat, cover with lid and gently simmer until bulgur is tender (20-25 minutes). Remove from heat and sit for 10 minutes before removing the lid to serve.

Dolma (stuffed vegetables with rice)

Wash rice and mix with fresh herbs, mint, onion, tomato, 1 teaspoon salt, teaspoon pepper and 1/3 cup olive oil. Rest for 30 minutes. fill a high-sided pot with water and bring to boil. Remove from heat, add vine leaves in one bunch and soak for 10-15 minutes until malleable then remove from water. Fill eggplants with water and 1 teaspoon of salt per eggplant and soak zucchini in salted water for 10-15 minutes. Rinse and then fill eggplants, green peppers and zucchini with filling until 1cm from top. Place upright in a high-sided frying pan. Vine leaves: remove any stem poking out from the end of the leaf and then lay flat (vein side up).

Place teaspoon filling on each leaf at the base near the stem. Fold the left and right side across the center line (should be about 3cm width). Beginning from the stem end, roll towards point, tucking in sides as you go. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons salt over vegetables and carefully pour 2 cups boiling water into pan. Cover pan, place on stovetop on high heat and bring to boil, turn heat down to a gentle simmer and cook for 40 minutes. When cooked through, remove from heat and spoon remaining juices over stuffed vegetables. Cool slightly before serving. Can also be served cold. This recipe is also good when you add mince and/or pine nuts to the filling.

Gozleme (turkish pancake)

Mix pastry ingredients and knead until elastic. Cover and rest for 30 minutes. Split dough into seven even portions. Roll each portion into 50cm-60cm diameter flat rounds; begin by rolling with normal rolling pin and when dough it too large to continue, switch to a thin wooden rod rolling pin. The technique for using the wooden rod is to curl the dough around the stick so it coils over itself and then roll the dough by starting with your hands in the middle of the rod and rolling the rod back and forth with your gradually rolling your hands to the edges. Make sure the dough is floured enough so it will not stick to itself as you roll it on the rod.

Completely unravel the dough and then start from a different edge. Continue until you have an even 40cm-50cm diameter flat round. Brush pastry with olive oil and spoon a topping into the center of the pancake. Spread topping into a 20cm circle. Oil the outside edges of the pancake then fold sides into center to make a square pocket. Fill and fold all pancakes before cooking. Lightly oil and medium heat a flat-based frying pan. Cook each side of the pancake until golden brown. Serve with salad.

Helva (ottoman style desert)

Melt butter in a pan and add flour. Stir to combine, add nuts and stir on low heat for 20 minutes. Stir in sugar and then add boiling water. Stir rapidly with a wide-based spoon and pressing helva into pan. After one minute, empty onto a plate and press down to crush all ingredients together.

Karniyarik (stuffed aubergine/eggplant)

Zebra peel aubergines lengthwise (half the skin should still be on the aubergine) and place in heavily salted water (about 1 tablespoon salt for 2 litres cold water). Soak in water for 10 minutes. Drain and lightly salt. Add a 2cm layer of olive oil to the base of a wide-based pan and place on a medium heat. Add salted aubergine, gently turning until all sides are golden brown. Stuffing: While aubergines are cooking, place a high-sided frying pan on a medium heat and add onion, peppers and pureed tomato. Bring to a strong simmer, stirring occasionally until tender. Add mince and stir until cooked through.

Add sugar, and then salt and black pepper to your own taste (usually around 1 teaspoon each for salt and pepper). Add 1 tablespoon olive oil, stir and remove from heat. Once aubergines are cooked remove them from oil and place in colander. Drain oil from pan and wipe clean. Pour boiling water over the aubergine to remove some of the oil (done to make the dish lighter) and place back into the cleaned pan. Carefully open each aubergine down the middle and pack in the stuffing. Add enough water to cover the sides of the aubergine, but not touching the stuffing. Cover and simmer on medium heat for 20-25 minutes. Note: this dish is also made without mince and is equally tasty as a vegetarian option.

Manti (Turkish ravioli)

Combine and mix pasta ingredients and knead until elastic. Cover and rest for 30 minutes. Filling: Finely chop parsley and combine filling ingredients (choose your filling). Form pasta into a log and slice into 5 even sections. Roll each section to mm thick. Slice round into 2cm squares. Lay small amount of filling in the centre of each square. Bring the 4 corners together and press to create ravioli parcel. Repeat until all dough and filling has been used. Finely dice garlic and mix with yoghurt and salt.

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Add ravioli parcels. Boil for 5-10 minutes until pasta is cooked through. For tomato-based sauce heat butter in pan, add olive oil, tomato and bell pepper pastes and dried mint. Stir until combined then slowly drizzle in pasta water stirring until well combined. For meat manti place pasta on a platter, top with yoghurt, and drizzle tomato-based sauce over yoghurt. For vegetarian manti: In a pan melt butter, add oil and boil for1 minute. Pour sauce over pasta and garnish with flat leaf parsley.

Menemen (mixed vegetables and eggs)

Heat olive oil in a pan and saut peppers on medium heat for 3 minutes. Add tomatoes and raise heat to high. Evaporate juice from tomatoes until no liquid is in the base of pan. Lower heat and add to pan, add egg and stir vigorously to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Serve. Note: this dish is often served with the egg cracked into the dish whole and cooked like a fried egg surrounded by tomato and pepper. Up to you to decide which you like best.

Tavuklu Sebzeli Guvec (chicken and vegetable stew)

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a frying pan on medium heat and add diced potato. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add peppers and tomatoes and peas. Reduce heat to a low-medium and simmer with lid on, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes until aromatic. In a separate pan heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and cook chicken over a low-medium heat. When chicken is cooked through add garlic and thyme cook for another 5 minutes.

Merge chicken with vegetables into one pan, add 2 cups boiling water, cover, turn heat to low and gently simmer for 15 minutes. Add salt, stir, cover and simmer for 10 more minutes. Serve with a vege-based pilaf and salad. Salad: Thoroughly mix 1 cup thinly sliced 2cm long strips of red cabbage with juice of one and teaspoon salt. Dice one tomato and mix with cup fresh dill and cup fresh flat leaf parsley. Cut one small onion into thin long slivers and break apart. Mix all ingredients together.

"Gokpinar" translates in English as "sky" and "spring." We are fortunate to live above a mountain valley refreshed by clean, natural springs. Take a lovely walk through the village to visit the spring, where many of our village neighbours make their gardens. Gokpinar is a little corner of the real Turkey that ordinary tourists never see - a beautiful, ancient & peaceful land. If you are looking for peace and tranquillity in natural, unspoilt surroundings, Gokpinar is the perfect place for you.

Enjoy the lovely & relaxing view from our treehouse! Exercise in peaceful quiet place, enjoy live traditional music, enjoy a day on a gulet in nearby bays, enjoy the occasional party with villagers or go to village weddings. Take a walk, ride a horse, we enjoy bringing our books & music to the spring, to sit under the ancient cinar trees. Dance when you feel like it. Find peaceful areas to relax & be with your self. Visit nearby beaches, enjoy open air Jacuzzi, enjoy adventurous rides to nearby sites and Nomadic life experience.

Additional activities with extra fee

  • Basket & wooden spoon making classes
  • Bellydancing classes
  • Carpet weaving classes
  • Nomadic Journeys
  • Sufi
  • Yoga classes

Optional tours

  • Boat trip: Included are lunch on board, afternoon tea & fruit service. The tour starts at 11 o'clock in the morning. We visit 5 different bays through the day & Black Island, famous for its hot springs. In the bays, you will also have chance to swim in the azure waters of the Aegean. We will be back to Bodrum at18 o'clock. The cost is 25 EURO / 35 USD.
  • Ferryboat to Cos (Greek Island): The tour includes return ferry ticket plus port tax. Departures everyday. Back to Bodrum at 17 o'clock in the afternoon. The cost is 30 EURO / 40 USD.
  • Ephesus tour: Includes professional, English-speaking guide, air-conditioned luxury coach, all entrance fees, & open buffet lunch. The tour starts 7 o'clock in the morning, for a 2-hour bus drive to Ephesus & the house of the Virgin Mary. We will be back to Bodrum in the evening. The cost is 35 EURO / 50 USD.
  • 7 nights accommodation
  • All meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner)
  • At least 20 recipes
  • Daily cooking classes preparing breakfasts, lunches and dinners
  • Transfers from and to Bodrum airport
  • Unlimited tea and coffee service and drinking water
  • Visit to Bodrum city centrum
  • Visits to nearby beaches and local markets

Arrival by airplane

The international Milas-Bodrum airport is 30 minutes drive away from Gokpinar. There are charter flights between May to October from Europe and UK. Turkish Airlines and other airlines fly all year around to Bodrum via Istanbul. Milas-Bodrum is only 45 minutes flight away from Istanbul.

For information about the booking conditions, please send CaravanTurkey Gokpinar Center an inquiry.

Testimonials

  • Review by a traveler from California, USA

    "We've stayed at Gokpinar Retreat Center a few times for cooking classes, carpet weaving, and belly dancing. It's the kind of place that keeps us coming back for more of the traditional way of life in Turkiye. Bulent and family are kind and generous...always very inviting. We also were invited to a village wedding celebration. This was one of my favorite experiences as the local women hugged me and invited me to join them dancing. Whether you have only a day excursion, or a whole week to "feel" authentic Turkey, Gokpinar is the place."

    TripAdvisor website, edited

  • Review by Tziona from Australia

    "I have spent two years exploring what I could of this wonderful world, but nothing I have done so far compares to my experience at your paradise away from the crowds. Thank you for everything. Thank you to your beautiful wife and kids for showing me such hospitality, plus allowing me to rest before returning to my chaotic life. "

    CaravanTurkey website, edited

  • Review by Shabber Ahmed from London, UK

    "Merhaba Bulent Bey, thank you so much for making my cooking retreat one to remember. I initially came to Turkey to escape from London winter for a few days, and secondly obviously acquire some culinary skills so to become self-sufficient. I have felt so relaxed here with no desire to see city life, just chilling out with you, Derya, Nesibe as if I were a part of the family-in fact I forgot I was on vacation in a new place. Thank you once more. Keep in touch and see you again. Best wishes!"

    December 2010. CaravanTurkey website, edited

  • Review by Kristina from London, UK

    "I have had a short but sweet, relaxing, and informative stay. I have loved being here in the beautiful Turkish mountains; the smell of the pine trees is not something I will forget in a hurry. I have had time to recharge my batteries unwind and feel like I have just been another member of the family. The recipes, cooking and eating have been out of this world. Thank you so much for a wonderful time and for a truly real insight into life and reality of a Turkish family. I am sure I will be back again one day. Good Luck"

    December 2010. CaravanTurkey website, edited

  • Review by Tracey from New Zealand

    "Bulent, your rustic retreat in the mountains is a traveler's haven; relaxing, hospitable and a place to kick back and soak up some quiet. Your mother's cooking lessons are indescribably brilliant, as are her wit, charm and joyous attitude to food and life. I love the outdoor cushions and bean bags and rugs scattered in the tree house, on the rooftop, by the lounge room and outside the house which just beg to be reclined in. The Sunday market is awesome, all the meals great, the beds are comfortable, and the hospitality is incredible. Your place is amazing and I will tell all my friends to visit you. "

    August 2010. CaravanTurkey website, edited

  • Review by Terry from Canada

    "This has been the most amazing week. Thank you Bulent for introducing me to this special place full of dance, music, family and friends. I will cherish every memory and hope someday to find my way to Gokpinar again. Thank you for the gorgeous cuisine. Your mum is fabulous."

    CaravanTurkey website, edited

Bodrum, Turkey

CaravanTurkey group is one of the leading special travel company in Turkey. Gokpinar is a small & nomadic traditional Turkish village. Cooking holiday Turkey.

Speaks English

from --

8 days / 7 nights

Availability

Available from March to December with arrival dates on the 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd.

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