Stories from Bergama, Turkey


100 Years of Clotted Cream

By: Kenisha Leonhardt
June 27, 2019

In the small, quaint, historically-rich town of Pergamon (Bergama), Turkey, there is an elderly man who is making a name for himself in the local history books.

 

In the small, quaint, historically-rich town of Pergamon (Bergama), Turkey, there is a man who is making a name for himself in the local history books.

Eşref Taşkın (Esh-ref Täsh-kin) is rumored to be in his late 90s and still works at his family cheese, yogurt, and clotted cream store and restaurant called New Day Breakfast Parlor.

Eşref has been walking through this door to work every day since he was 14 years old.

Eşref and his son work together every day, making fresh cheese, yogurt, and a special clotted cream (kaymak) that is famous in the Aegean region of Turkey.

Their restaurant is only open in the mornings because by lunch all of their famous clotted cream typically sells out. The traditional way to eat this special cream is with honey on bread.

Eşref was effectively born into the business, his family having owned New Day Breakfast Parlor for more than 100 years. “This is the job that fell into my hands, but I love this job,” he said. “At night, I see it in my dreams.”

The business sits nestled atop a historical canal system in the small town of Pergamon (Bergama).

Even though the people of the town claim that Eşref is 100 years old, he says he is only 88 years old and has been doing this job for more than 70 years.

One thing is true, Eşref says: he loves to interact with his customers. Saliha, a woman from a surrounding town who is visiting her son in Pergamon (Bergama), is one such customer.

The system is dated, but it works. Eşref and his family use an old scale to weigh their cheeses and creams. 

The family keeps things very simple. A very basic, hand-written menu—which hangs on the far wall of the small restaurant—is the only menu posted in the place.

“We choose the best place to buy milk,” Eşref says. “And as the years have gone by the place changes, but we only buy milk from the place that we personally find amazing.”

Walking into this restaurant can feel a lot like stepping back in time—with the simplicity of the menu and the simple tools used to create an atmosphere that is talked about throughout the small town of Pergamon (Bergama) and beyond.



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