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The Famous Foods and Drinks of Kastamonu

Nail Tan


There have not been many serious studies or publications on the foods of the west Black Sea city of Kastamonu. The most extensive collection on the subject was conducted by a former local museum curator, Ahmet Baha Gökoğlu. Mr. Gökoğlu sent questionnaires to people, mostly teachers, in Kastamonu and its surrounding provinces, and collected information on 812 dishes and 51 types of bread. The section of the study dealing with soups included 38 different varieties.

Kastamonu is one of the main centers of candy making in Turkey. The famous confectioner Hacı Bekir [known for his lokum] was from Kastamonu’s Araç province. Today, most of the confectioners and salesmen working at Hacı Bekir’s Istanbul and Ankara production facilities and outlets are from Araç as well.  It is Hacı Bekir who is responsible for introducing “Turkish Delight” to the world.

In addition to the confectioners from Araç, the towns of Küre and Devrekâni have become renowned as master makers of kadayıf and yufka. Including those from Boyabat (Sinop), 70% of kadayıf and yufka makers in Istanbul and Ankara hail from these provinces.

Kastamonu has a rich culinary tradition due to its fertile lands and mild climate. It’s apples, grapes and plums, the garlic from Taşköprü and the rice grown in Tosya are famous throughout the country. In addition, the area is famous for chestnuts, cherries and linden flowers from İnebolu, pears from Azdavay, walnuts and cornelian cherries from Araç, plums (white plums, prune plums and others) from Daday and Taşköprü, and the mountain strawberries, mushrooms, thyme, orchid root (sahlep) which grow wild there and in the surrounding provinces. There is also a wealth of wild greens in Kastamonu province, including sorrel, Trichospermum (borage family), knotweed and mallow. The heavily forested region is also advantageous to the raising of cows and buffalo, and the region exports much meat and eggs to the large cities of Turkey.

Specialty Dishes of Kastamonu

1- Etli Ekmek:
Bread dough rolled thin and topped with a meat mixture.

2- Pastırmalı Ekmek:
Bread dough rolled thin and topped with pastirma.

3- Pastırma:
A type of pastrami: beef filet which is salted and pressed, then cured with a spice mixture composed mostly of ground fenugreek, garlic and red pepper.

4- Sucuk:
A type of heavily spiced sausage.

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