(salep garnished with extra cinnamon, resting on a new dish towel I bought on home textile alley)

(the view outside our apartment window, on Rumeli Cadessi)

Notes of cinnamon, cream, forest, warmth, and comfort enter my mind and tastebuds as it goes down the hatch -- the feeling of a cozy Grandma's apartment? Horchata? No no, the beverage I'm describing is Salep, a restorative drink made from the roots of a Orchid Mascula, flowers that are grown in Southeastern Turkey.

Considered a 'health' brew (a bit like the Spanish view on nutella as health food) although mixed with loads of milk and sugar, salep makes for a fine sip while braving the winds of a ferry ride or window-gazing on a snowy afternoon. As I sit and watch the world below and the snowflakes come down, pausing momentarily for a slurp of my tasty flower drink, I can't help but feel far far away from my California up-bringing. Is there a Turkish Toto to talk to? Because I don't think we're in Santa Barbara anymore . . . another cup teeny cup of salep will help cure all ails and homesick folly.

* A note on how to make salep -- I'm not really sure how to create it from scratch, I see it in all the stores as a powder you just hot milk to (like swiss miss hot cocoa in the US). That's what I've bought and tasted, although in a cafe, it is much thicker and stronger--perhaps they use more salep powder?

** One last thing, salep powder is also used as a thickener in the ice cream here, producing an extremely elastic texture. More on that in another post.

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