Lor tatlisi is an unforgettable Cunda treat… 2 weeks ago, my husband and I had a short vacation to the northern Aegean coastal town of Ayvalik, more specifically an island called Cunda. We stayed in an old Anatolian-Greek house, now turned into a hotel with only 7 rooms. Hotel’s decoration had an antique touch to it and the house itself was built from a local stone called sarimsak tasi. It had a very high ceiling, wooden floors, gorgeous wooden windows, vintage heaters with flower patterns and antique furniture.
Everything was simply divine, magical and amazing. I haven’t got enough adjectives in my vocab to describe our stay. The first day, it was raining like crazy, but still we drove around, discovered very nice spots on the island and in the evening had a perfect seafood dinner in Ayvalik.
We had mixed feelings, walking around Cunda’s and Ayvalik’s old town centers. We felt kinda sad that Greeks had to leave and again Muslims who were displaced from Crete came over and took whatever was left from those people, but also were happy to still have found the authentic feeling of the towns intact, especially in Cunda. It had been 8 years since my last visit to the island. Not much changed in the old town, I don’t care for the newly built villas on the outskirts. I took my husband to show him the ruins of a monastry called Ayios Dimitri Ta Selena, but couldn’t do so because a lady from one of the richest families of our country apparently “bought” the monastry. I don’t know how one can buy a monastry though!!! There was a guard standing at the main door and he wouldn’t let us on the premises. On the way back we went into another road and reached two small villages in a row, almost completely deserted.
The island was still full of very old olive trees. To me, the best olive oil in Turkey and one of the best in the World is produced here in this town of Ayvalik. It has all it gets to bring you the best: Sea, warm weather, windy hills facing the coast full of old (when I say old, I mean OLD) olive trees. It is still possible to get first cold pressed olive oil, which is extracted with millstones from the freshest olives that are harvested early into the season. The result: very low acidity, no metalic taste, fruity fresh olive flavor throughout the whole experience, a lingering taste on your palate for quite a while. Oh God, please protect this land from industrialized methods of ruining our food!
Well back to our trip, on our second day, it was sunny and we took lots of pictures and again I got my share of seafood on the island in the afternoon. At the end of the meal, the owner of the restaurant presented us with a generous serving of a local dessert, creamy fresh cottage cheese topped up with sour cherry preserve. It was mild, balanced in flavor, colorful, fresh and what not! We loved it and asked them where we could buy the cheese/curd. Our next stop was of course the cheese vendor, then another one, followed by another one. We ended up buying lots of fresh and aged cheese, enough to feed us for a couple of months.
That evening we visited a cosy nargile shop (sheesha-hookah-waterpipe). It was again an old stone-built house with a very high ceiling, decorated Mediterranean style in blue, white, turquoise and stone colors. The owner Haci Ziya was the friendliest person ever. We had Istanbul-quality nargile, great tea, nice chat and a wonderful evening with the snuggly cats around.
We love Cunda. We are in love with Cunda. Are we going back there again? Hell yeah! As soon as we get a chance.
I don’t think I need to provide the recipe for the dessert, all you need is to get the best cottage cheese (creamy-fatty type) and sour cherry preserve. Just put those two together and serve. The trick to it is finding the best ingredients. Good luck.