September will be the season of food feasting all around Istanbul and a celebration of the talent and diverse tastes of Turkish cuisine's past and future. We have handpicked the city's most mouthwatering gastronomic events that promise tourists a taste bud-tempting trip. They all offer a diverse program of activities with something for everyone. Make sure you make time to stop by any of them and get a guaranteed good time, leaving with full stomach.
Antep flavors at Shangri-La Bosphorus
How about enjoying some traditional dishes in luxury style? Shangri-La Bosphorus's award-winning French Executive Chef Olivier Pistre and chefs Ragıp Güzelbey and Doğa Çitçi from the southeastern Gaziantep city will design an exclusive menu at Gaziantep Food Festival IST TOO, serving the very best tastes of Gaziantep, a member of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network in the culinary category. With a French touch, the city's common food heritage will be on the exclusive menu from Sept. 24 to Oct. 8. The festival's opening will be overseen by Gaziantep Mayor Fatma Şahin during a special reception. Throughout this two-week event, almost all known dishes from Gaziantep from baklava to kebab and sherbet to "menengiç" coffee will be served to guests at the iconic hotel.
One slice won't be enough
Istanbul's other historic venue, the Haydarpaşa Train Station right on the Kadıköy dock, will be all about pizza on Sept. 25 with the start of the Pizza Festival. Culinary experts in Italian cuisine, cooking demonstrations, pizza and pasta eating contests, in addition to a variety of incredible samplings including authentic Italian-style dishes will be on the main festival program. While a great selection of pizzas will be a visual joy, live Italian music from 1950s and dance shows presenting the best of traditional Italian folk dance like Tarantella, a frenzied spinning dance hailing from South Italy's weddings will bring an authentic atmosphere. Also, an exhibition exploring the long history of pizza will open to visitors as well as interactive games and competitions. The event is free to all.
On weekend mornings, most Turks find themselves tucking into a big traditional breakfast, a feast for all senses. You will be greeted with traditional products and freshly-baked bread alongside home-made jams and pastries. As breakfast is a serious business for Turks, it will not be surprising to see thousands of guests at Breakfest Istanbul, a first of its kind event in Turkey.
Scheduled to take place from Sept. 24-25 at Uniq Istanbul Maslak, the debut festival will bring regional tastes, specialty breakfast menus, sample sessions and workshops for anyone craving a full-day breakfast experience. Accompanied by live jazz performances, the festival will serve mouthwatering "katmer," a kind of crunchy pancake with pistachio which is widely consumed in the mornings in the southern Gaziantep province, "bazlama" (flat baked bread), fresh olive oil from the Aegean region, a myriad of cheeses, organic dishes and the irresistible duo honey and cream. There will also be alkaline breakfast, a healthier option rich in cereals, fruits and vegetables. Without a doubt, fresh Turkish tea will be there throughout the festival to wake guests up in the morning.
"I am not one to turn down pasta and cheese, even late at night." If this is you, then we have some good news. The historic Sirkeci Station in Eminönü district will host a new generation culinary event from Sept. 23-25. The smell of spaghetti will surround the historic terminus throughout the Istanbul Pasta Festival. The city's well-known pasta restaurants, producers as well as sauce and cheese firms will have stands at the upcoming festival, which will obviously satisfy the guests' taste buds. The three-day fest will be the main venue for distinguished chefs joining the event at workshops teaching authentic and easy pasta recipes with Italian sauces.
Get dirty at burger fest
This month's next food fest asks you get ready to gather at the city's various spots with the aroma of gourmet burgers filling the air. Hellmann's Burger Fest will be a week-long culinary event where your hands will get dirty. From Sept. 23 to Oct. 2, the second edition of Hellman's Burger Fest will offer discounts at burger shops and restaurants along with pop-up burger stalls, workshop sessions with experienced chefs and live music. As Turkey's first and only burger fest, the event already proved its success last year.
A common space for food entrepreneurs
Although coinciding with Breakfest Istanbul, Souq Karaköy's grand food fest is an unmissable one. From Sept. 24 to Sept. 25, Souq Ziyafet (Souq Fest) in the trendy Karaköy district will create a joint venue for street food, local producers and independent food entrepreneurs. Last year's Souq Fest taking place in mid-September introduced a number of young entrepreneurs' food projects from Chado's local tea samples from around the world to the jams of Portakalbahcem.com and aromatic pickles of Gastronomika. Creative food projects are welcomed at the festival designed by Yaprak Aras, who is also the mastermind behind Karaköy's Souq concept.