When you read the title of this blog post you might have wondered what a meze lunch actually is. Meze is not a specific Turkish dish but it´s the term for a collection of small dishes that can either be served as an appetizer course or, dependent on how many small dishes you are serving, as the main course. The separate dishes served during a Meze course are often called mezedes or mezedhes. A meze course is very similar to the Spanish concept of tapas, where you share various small dishes with a group.
If you go out for lunch or dinner in Turkey and you want Meze, it is very probable that the selection of dishes will be determined by what the restaurant made that morning instead of choosing from a menu. Usually, there´s a variety of spreads, bread to dip with, salads and fried snacks.
Here are some examples of Turkish mezedes you should definitely give a try:
- Cucumber, feta, and tomato salad
This is a famous one, very simple but so yummy! This simple dish can be used as a side dish, salad or wrapped in pita bread.
- Grilled eggplant salad
Eggplant is used in many dishes in Turkey and the grilled or roasted eggplant salad is a great one for a meze lunch. This dish can also be used as a side but in the meze concept, it´s usually served as a dip or salad.
- Roasted chickpea salad
These spicy roasted chickpeas are a treat! They are delicious and very simple to prepare if you want to make it home. After you have put the spices on the chickpeas you just put them in the oven before your guests arrive et voila you have a very good meze dish.
- Yoghurt dip
Turkey has loads of variety of yogurt dips with nuts or cucumber that are usually served with bread to dip. Another famous dip is hummus which is getting more and more popular these days.
- Fried olives
Usually, a meze lunch has some fried snacks as well and fried olives are pretty popular!
- Salted sardines in olive oil
This cold dish is very tasty and super healthy! If you´re organizing a meze party at home this is a simple dish that basically can´t go wrong.
- Feta cheese
We have written several times about the famous Turkish beyaz peynir (similar to feta cheese) and no meze lunch is complete without this Turkish staple product!
- Fried mussels and calamari
Another fried snack dish of delicious sea food. You usually can´t go wrong with this one!
If you want to host your own meze party, it is as simple as making some mezedes, setting them out on a big table and serving them with a nice wine. So, which wines are good to have with a meze lunch either at home or when eating out?
Since a meze lunch has such a large variety of dishes you have a great choice of wine as well. Due to the usually high presence of fresh salads etc. we probably wouldn´t choose a strong-bodied red wine but basically, all crispy dry whites and roses are great for accompanying your meze lunch. Our favorites for a nice meze lunch are a good white Albariño wine or the whites from the Southern Rhône in France, but again the choices for a meze lunch are endless because of the huge variety of dishes your lunch can consist of!
Enjoy your meze lunch!