Getting the right gift can be difficult after you've visited Turkey. You came here because of the beaches, or the history, or the food, or the hospitality. But now you must get gifts for all your loved ones at home! And, if you're anything like the average traveler, you don't have the space to bring back 20 ceramic plates from China (and/or you're worried you might break them somewhere along the way) or dozens of Turkish carpets, no matter how breathtaking they are!
Well, we're here to help, here are 10 amazing gifts that you can only get in Turkey that are really local, really represent your trip, and are available at almost every major grocery store near you!
Everyone in the world loves sweetened nut cocoa spreads. You may even know that a large percentage of these commercial nuts come from Turkey, and that Turkey has the best hazelnuts in the world. However, did you know that a completely standard product that you will find all over Turkey is hazelnut oil, which is essentially these commercial varieties only without any additives and with much more hazelnuts!
Standard commercial spreads contain about 13% of hazelnuts, and the rest is mostly chemicals. Turkish hazelnut oil is 80% hazelnut (and the rest is mostly sugar) and is cheap and delicious. Spread it on bread and see how delicious it is! Or use it just the way peanut butter is used, a personal favorite is to mix it with chocolate chip cookies and enjoy the best cookies on earth!
Soap With Olive Oil
Cleanliness in Turkey goes back thousands of years, as evidenced by the prevalence of hamams everywhere you go. Soap made from olive oil has been used in Turkey for a long time, and as a result, it is not a tourist novelty that you can see in Europe, but your standard soap variety available at the local supermarket!
When you go, you usually see two varieties of soap: one green in color, which is just pure olive oil soap, and the other is “Hamam soap". Hamam soap is slightly higher, and is often mixed with Bay oil and more refined. Soap usually comes in packs of four or more, so you can buy gifts for the whole family with just a few purchases!
For reasons we never understood, balsamic vinegar is all the rage with olive oil in salads. Once you try 100% pomegranate molasses, we promise you will never come back! It is made very simply by diluting the pomegranate juice to a thick syrup, and then bottled – some brands add sugar, while others do not.
When you look in the store, you will see cheaper and more expensive versions, and usually the cheaper versions are fakes (which may even be labeled as “pomegranate-flavored molasses”), so be careful. But as long as you see the 100% label on it, you know it's one of the most delicious additions to any dining table, and it's easy to buy when you're on your way to the airport!
While we are talking about salads, olive oil has become a luxury commodity all over the world, whereas in Turkey it is just a standard part of every meal and every cuisine. While Europeans rave about cold pressed, extra virgin, in Turkey you will find hundreds of varieties of olive oil (not just brands), from cold pressed to early harvest, late harvest to stone pressed and more, with standards that make them some of the best olive oils in the world for half the price (or less) you pay in Europe.
Try a few more exotic ones and share them with your friends to find out what they prefer, but no matter what you get, it will surely be just as good or better than the most expensive luxury olive oils you'll find abroad!
This one is probably the most obvious one on the list, but that doesn't mean it's the worst! Every supermarket has a standard Turkish delight, and it's a sweet that goes perfectly with a Cup of tea or coffee. There are relatively few well-known brands in Turkey, so usually what you find in the supermarket is what the locals consider the best brands.
Take yourself and your loved ones a couple of boxes of Turkish delight and scatter them to different friends at home, we promise that their children will thank you for just a couple of SIPS!