Trademark Tastes of Izmir
Boyoz is a Turkish pastry, associated with İzmir, where it is prepared for commercial purposes and by following the original recipe. In the eyes of Izmir residents boyoz acquired the dimension of a symbol of their hometown or of their longing for it. The most widely preferred boyoz is plain, without addition of meat or cheese or spinach stuffings, and as cooked by a handful of master boyoz bakers in the İzmir.
According to most of the sources, Boyoz has Judeo-Spanish roots. It is counted as a contribution to city’s food culture from Sephardic Jews evicted from Spain after 1492. Very similiar Spanish roots can be seen in other ofshoots of Spain such as Chile, Peru and Mexico. Boyoz is spelled as “Bollos” in Spanish which means “a bundle, a pack” Lately all master bakers who prepared Boyoz were Jews in Izmir. Today the masters of Boyoz who have been trained by late Avram Usta -who is a trademark in Boyoz pastry- is following his lead.
Boyoz is a mix of sunflower oil and flour and a little tahin (a.k.a tahini or sesame paste). It is kneaded by hand and the ball of paste is left to repose for 2- hours. Then paste is flatened to a dish width accordingly left for repose again. It is then kneaded and opened once more, before being formed into a roll and left to repose as such for a further period of several hours. When the tissue of the paste is still soft but about to detach into pieces, it is cut into small balls and put in rows of small pans and marinaded in vegetable oil between half an hour and one hour. The small balls are put in a high-temperature oven generally in plain form or with filling of spinach.
It is recommended to try this taste with a dark tea, hard boiled eggs sprinkled with black pepper and salt. There are several pastry around than you can buy Boyoz also you can find it on street vendors which you can easily recognize through all over the city with their carts provided by municipality.
Kumru is a special kind of sandwich which is served especially in Cesme (spelled as Cheshme) a district of Izmir. Kumru is featuring cheese, sucuk (spelled as sujuk, a spicy sausage) and tomato in basics. Today it is also served with the addition of sausage and salami. It is served with cucomber pickles, hot pickled pepper and along with ketchup and mayonnaise (Though some masters do not agree with the last two ingredients).
The Turkish sandwich “Kumru,” meaning turtledove, gets its name from its turtledove-shaped bread. Once upon a time kumru used to be sold as a plain pastry with gevrek, a ring-shaped pastry product covered in sesame seeds, in traditional bakeries or by street vendors. Kumru as a sandwich was born at the end of the 1950s when Turkey was becoming familiarized with the sandwich. When some kaşar cheese (a yellow cheese made from sheep’s milk), sucuk (garlic-flavored Turkish sausage) and tomato were put into the kumru, it became more and more popular.
All ingredients must be cooked in a coal-burning pan like oven and the special bread. However, the secret of the kumru lies in its bread, which is cooked in special bakeries mostly owned privately by kumru restaurants themselves. And also what makes this bread so special is its chickpea sourdough.
Kumru restaurants in Çeşme are open 24 hours a day. During the daytime they are always full of people who want to begin the day with a satisfying breakfast, who want to eat something quick for lunch, who always want to have something on their five o’clock tea table, and at night, the restaurants are still full of holiday-makers who want to have an affordable dinner and later on, full of youngsters who want to eat something after a lively night life to wake up better the next day. It is understandable why one cannot give up the kumru after the first try, and come all the way to Çeşme just for this sandwich …
There is also another type of Kumru which is made by the same type of bread but only with white cheese, tomato and green pepper. It is usually consumed as a quick breakfast along with a dark tea. You can find this type of Kumru in all around Izmir from street vendors where you can also taste “Gevrek” a similiar dough made pastry mainly consumed in breakfast.
Eatinizmir recommends you to try “Kumrucu Şevki” in ILICA, Çeşme if possible. Enjoy your bite…