With its rows and rows of pistachio trees, Gaziantep is a heaven for those who love baklava filled with deep green pistachios of the most freshly fragrant kind. When you walk around the old city, you’ll come across one baklava stand after another, so make sure to get a box of mixed baklava to take home.
Ayvalık is famous for its olive oil, and the many olive tree groves all around the region are the visual proof of this success. While in Ayvalık, make sure to take a trip to the small seaside town of Cunda and stock up on Kürşat Olive Oil, the region’s best olive oil produced at a small, ecologically friendly, and family-run factory.
The hand-painted Iznik tiles lived out their golden days during the Ottoman Empire when every major architectural spectacle was covered with the beautiful tiles with their red and cobalt blue designs. Nowadays, Iznik tiles and ceramics continue to be produced by a few craftsmen who keep the tradition alive and are, therefore, very precious and always exceptionally beautiful.
Once an important stop on the famous Silk Road, Bursa was the center of the silk and silkworm trade, and nowadays, it continues to stock an excellent array of beautiful local Bursa silk. Head to the Koza Han and ask for authentic Bursa silk; you’ll be sure to take home a piece of genuine beauty that you can wear or use to decorate your home.
Famous as the center of thermal spas in Turkey, Afyonkarahisar also has more to offer than a weekend stay in one of its many thermal spa hotels. Make sure to bring back some of the famous Turkish sucuk (fermented sausage) from Afyon, which you’ll find hanging in the windows of almost every store downtown—we’ve heard the best is at Cumhuriyet.
Even though Turkey’s viticulture history is one of the most ancient in the world, Turkish wines have just recently begun to make their mark in the world. Turkey has a lot of regions where wine is produced, but if you happen to visit Urla (near Izmir), make sure to take home a bottle of the award-winning Urla Nero d’Avola red wine.
Avanos has a long history of pottery making, which had its start with clay acquired from the local Red River. Make sure to visit the ateliers of local handicraftsmen to buy an authentic piece of Avanos pottery, or sign up for a class to make some of your own.
Malatya produces about 65–80% of the world’s dried apricots, so if you happen to visit, you definitely have to take some home because they are simply the best. Sun-dried on family-run orchards through the use of traditional methods, the Malatya apricot is an amazing treat.