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Berrin Torolsan

Berrin Torolsan is a writer, photographer, picture editor and the publisher of Cornucopia. She has become particularly well-known for her recipes and photography. Her first book, At Home in Turkey, was published by Thames and Hudson in 2008.


  • The Treasured Shell

    From Issue 66

    Since the 1940s time has stood still under the pines and palms of this modest Art Deco villa on Istanbul’s Marmara shore. Berrin Torolsan meets Suna Erbil Demirağ, who has fiercely protected it as a tribute to her pioneering father, who carved out a thousand kilometres of Turkey’s railways before building this much-loved haven. Photographs by Monica Fritz

  • Know your Onions

    From Issue 66

    A favourite ingredient in almost every country in the world for thousands of years – where would we be without the ever-versatile onion? Berrin Torolsan traces its eye-watering history and serves up a feast of mouth-watering recipes

  • Pressing the flesh

    The piquant story of pastırma

    From Issue 65

    Once the staple food of nomads and warriors, pastırma has turned into a gourmet delicacy. Text and photographs by Berrin Torolsan

  • Making an Entrance

    The Crown Princes' Lodge and the heyday of Ottoman Orientalism

    From Issue 64

    The gate guarding the Ottoman Ministry of War – today’s Istanbul University – is an eloquent example of the Orientalist style that took both East and West by storm in the 19th century. In the gate’s shadow stands the Princes’ Lodge, once the refuge of high-born officers on parade day, now an exotic refectory where professors of Istanbul University enjoy lunch. By Berrin Torolsan. Photographs by Monica Fritz

  • Small Wonder

    the deliciously versatile lentil

    From Issue 64

    Delicious and versatile, the tiny lentil packs a powerful nutritional punch. Possibly man’s first food crop, this legume seed is as popular in modern Turkey as it was in Neolithic times. Berrin Torolsan has her finger on the pulse

  • Going with the Grain

    The nutty delights of bulgur

    From Issue 63

    For many peoples bulgur came before bread. It may now be ultra-fashionable, but versatile, nutritious bulgur was in fact the world’s first processed food. Berrin Torolsan celebrates the revival of this Anatolian staple and its nutty joys with a collection of intriguing recipes

  • Flights of fantasy

    Lithin Ricci and her rainbow house on the Golden Horn

    From Issue 63

    The artist Lithian Ricci has rescued a dilapidated old house on the Golden Horn – and transformed it into a magical work of art. Berrin Torolsan is dazzled. Photographs: Monica Fritz

  • Living the Ottoman Dream

    From Issue 62

    For Ottoman interiors at their luminous best, the Balkans are the place to go. In 2004 Berrin Torolsan discovered old Filibe, today’s Bulgarian city of Plovdiv, recently a European Capital of Culture. In this sleepy backwater she stepped into an Ottoman time warp, the enchanting House of Hindliyan. Photographs by Tim Beddow

  • Sweet endings

    From Issue 62

    Fruit poached to perfection, the fragrant ‘hoşaf’, or compote, is a simple, soothing finale to any meal – be it banquet or family dinner. Berrin Torolsan traces its origins to the sultan’s kitchens and serves up some irresistible recipes and photographs

  • ‘Health to the Body, Food to the Soul’

    Sherbets and sorbets: their story and recipes

    From Issue 61

    Centuries ago, travellers to Turkey were amazed by a new, uplifting taste sensation: the sherbet, flowery or fruity, and served with ice. Berrin Torolsan traces the history of sherbets and the sorbets made from them, and serves up an irresistible array of cooling summery treats

  • The Modest Medlar

    From Issue 60

    Once ubiquitous and widely valued for its medicinal powers, the medlar has been neglected for more than a century as it calls for patience and cannot be mass-marketed. So take advantage of this ambrosial amber-coloured fruit wherever you find it – in street markets, in country gardens or in the wild. Text and photographs: Berrin Torolsan

  • First Impressions

    The 1914 Generation at the Sakıp Sabancı Museum

    From Issue 42

    The work of Feyhaman Duran and his contemporaries, once dismissed as unfashionably figurative, is now attracting renewed interest. A recent exhibition at the Sakıp Sabancı Museum in Istanbul celebrated their work. The first T urkish painters to work in the Western manner, this group of artists - known as the ‘1914 generation’ - often learnt their craft at military academies, which prized topographical skills. They all, to a man, went on to study in Paris, and, like the French Impressionists, they painted en plein air, capturing the fleeting moods of Istanbul’s landscapes. Berrin Torolsan selects some of her favourites from the exhibition

  • Shepherd’s Delight

    Berrin Torolsan on the wonders of white cheese

    From Issue 59

    The age-old ambrosia of nomadic herdsmen, there is still nothing to beat a really good white cheese made from fresh ewe’s milk. Silky-textured, yet firm and piquant, it is ideal at breakfast with olives or with a glass of raki at the end of the day – and brilliant for cooking

  • Secret Chambers of the Black Eunuchs

    Berrin Torolsan peers into the Topkapı Harem’s forbidden halls

    From Issue 59

    As the Topkapi prepares to open up parts of the palace long kept hidden, we recall the time Cornucopia was granted rare access to what remains the most secret section of all – the quarters of the Black Agas. These powerful African eunuchs guarded the Harem and controlled the finances of the hugely wealthy Queen Mother. Text by Berrin Torolsan. Photographs by Fritz von der Schulenburg

  • Earthy powers

    From Issue 58

    The beet family – beetroot, chard and sugar beet – are celebrated as health foods today. But these tasty, vibrant plants have been enjoyed for centuries, and for good reason: they make gorgeous soups, salads and pickles, and add richness and colour to so many other dishes. Text and photographs by Berrin Torolsan

  • Happiness is pear-shaped

    From Issue 57

    Beloved of birds and bees, prized by Ottoman sultans and Bourbon kings, pears are a particular joy eaten ripe from the tree. But cooking coaxes the flavour out of even those mass-market varieties grown for a long shelf life and ripened in cold storage

  • Jam Tomorrow

    Ambrosial apricots

    From Issue 56

    In a chilly spring the apricot trees of Cappadocia were frothing with white blossom. By early summer the boughs would be heavy with fruit, to be eaten fresh from the branch, dried in the sun – or made into conserves like bottled sunshine for the cold winter months. Text and photographs by Berrin Torolsan

  • Master of plaster

    From Issue 23

    The dusty rooms of a crumbling Istanbul palazzo are a living museum of the plaster-caster’s art. Berrin Torolsan visits the heir to a fine tradition. Photographs by Fritz von der Schulnburg

  • Golden globes

    From Issue 55

    And the award for most versatile, most nourishing and best-loved ingredient goes to… the humble chickpea. Berrin Torolsan explores its history and its limitless talent to entertain us in a multitude of different roles

  • Man, myth and mastic

    From Issue 55

    It was for centuries the preserve of sultans, extolled by the ancients, sought after in the harem, a staple of palace kitchen and pharmacy. More precious than gold, mastic brought fortune and tears to the island of Chios, today the world’s sole source of this ‘Arabic gum’. Now, thanks to a pioneering initiative, the Turkish shores across the water will be green with mastic groves. Text and photographs by Berrin Torolsan

  • On the Threshold of a Dream: Küçüksu Kasrı

    The Sultan’s Bosphorus pavilion

    From Issue 54

    Visitors arriving by water at the sultans’ pavilion of Küçüksu Kasrı could scarcely believe their eyes. As the gates on the Bosphorus swung open, they entered a world of head-turning theatricality, beauty and embellishment – a Dolmabahçe Palace in miniature that charmed a prince. By Berrin Torolsan. Interior photographs by Fritz von der Schulenburg

  • Bread of Heaven

    Succulent 'tirit'

    From Issue 54

    Oozing delicious juices, irresistibly moreish, the ‘tirit’ covers a range of traditional Turkish soups and stews, both savoury and sweet, with slices of bread at their heart. Berrin Torolsan serves up the ultimate in comfort food

  • Broad Bean Feast


    From Issue 53

    The beautiful broad bean is far more than the sum of its seemingly simple parts. It has almost magical restorative powers. It’s delicious too. Berrin Torolsan shows how to make the most of these bundles of joy

  • A World of His Own

    From Issue 52

    Abdülhamid II amazed his subjects by retreating behind high walls on a hilltop above Beşiktaş, taking his court and government with him. Here he created a city within a palace – in part with his own hands. In a two-part feature, Berrin Torolsan tells the story of the palace, its park and its guesthouse. Photographs by Fritz von der Schulenburg

  • Earthly Delights: the Humble Potato

    From Issue 52

    The potato was a latecomer to Turkish cookery, but today it is hard to imagine life without it. The humble spud, the ultimate in comfort food, is endlessly versatile,and also comes packed with goodness. Berrin Torolsan serves up some favourite dishes

  • Fine fast food

    Trade Secrets

    From Issue 27

    Most fast food is heavy, greasy and bad for your health. Güllaç pancakes, by contrast, are beautiful organza-thin leaves, light as a feather and made from the simplest ingredients. What’s more, they keep for an age. Berrin Torolsan sees the best gullaç in the making

  • Modern Nomads

    Ancient Turkish pasta recipes

    From Issue 51

    Whether or not it originated with Alexander the Great, pasta, in all its shapes and sizes, is a food that has known no boundaries of class, country or time, nourishing babies, delighting emperors and keeping armies on the move. Berrin Torolsan celebrates the Turkic take on a practical staple

  • Bean vivant

    From Issue 50

    From a trusty staple to the stuff of feasts, beans are at the very heart of Turkish cuisine. How did we ever live without them? Text and photographs by Berrin Torolsan

  • Heavenly Berries

    The joy of mulberries

    From Issue 49

    Mulberries come in an array of hues: black, white, pink, purple; some enticingly sweet, others astringent and healing. As Berrin Torolsan can testify, having grown up with them in her Istanbul garden, all are adored – by man, mallard and pine marten alike. Here she traces the history of this lucious fruit

  • A Thousand and One Delights

    From Issue 49

    From violet sorbets, cinnamon drops and the sugar cones offered as sweeteners for sultans, to helva, sugared almonds and ‘lumps of delight’…You don’t need to have a sweet tooth to enjoy a history of Turkish puddings and sweets, but it’s all the more delicious if you do. Berrin Torolsan savours a feast of fascinating facts

  • Fruit of the Gods


    From Issue 48

    Grapes may be Anatolia’s most ancient crop but the birthplace of Dionysus still produces an abundance of tempting varieties – from succulent bunches of fresh fruit to the sweetest of sultanas, and even world-class wines. Grapes also play a vital role in Classic Turkish Cuisine. Text and photograph by Berrin Torolsan

  • Hungarian Rhapsody

    From Issue 46

    Set amid pines with a glimpse of the Bosphorus is a romantic house built in the 19th century by a Hungarian-born refugee for himself and his young wife. Many such wooden houses nestle in the hills and valleys on the Asian shore. But, as Berrin Torolsan reveals, its restoration by the designer Serdar Gülgün has been a rare labour of love. Photographs by Jürgen Frank

  • Yörük Köy: A Mansion of Perfect Modesty

    From Issue 47

    Not far from the World Heritage city of Safranbolu lies the quiet village of Yörük Köyü, once famed for its valiant cavalry. As part of her continuing series on Anatolia’s country houses, Berrin Torolsan visits the Sipahioğlu Konak, a beautifully built mansion of satisfying simplicity and unassuming flair.

  • The Coolest Thing


    From Issue 47

    Marbled rind and coral flesh… the watermelon, essence of summer.
    Text and photograph by Berrin Torolsan

  • Celery’s Sibling

    The story of celeriac

    From Issue 41

    With its gnarled head and earthy aroma, celeriac is a food for grown-ups, eaten all over Turkey at tables high and low. Berrin Torolsan’s traditional recipes make it a taste that’s easy to acquire

  • Sweet Peas

    11,000 years of man's favourite pulse

    From Issue 46

    Adored through the ages by farmers and sultans alike, peas lend a subtle sweetness to everything from Turkish stews to Russian salad.

  • Wild at Heart

    The scent of strawberries

    From Issue 45

    Strawberries growing in the wild are gems of mouth-watering delight that bear little relation to the showy, insipid-tasting fruit on supermarket shelves. But there are still good garden strawberries to be found. Berrin Torolsan encourages us to seek out locally grown, seasonal fruit bursting with fragrance. Her simple recipes celebrate the best of berries

  • Plum Perfect

    The naked plum

    From Issue 44

    Plums grow in all colours of the rainbow, and bring a delicious magic to sweet and savoury dishes alike.

  • Back to Our Roots

    Radishes and turnips

    From Issue 43

    Pungent and piquant, mustardy or mellow, radishes and turnips deserve more respect. Underrated in most of the West, they are still a valued staple in Turkey, where in winter they appear raw, cooked or pickled on every table.

  • The Sweet Taste of Summer

    The fragrant melon

    From Issue 39

    What would summer be without fragrant melons and their honeyed, juicy, cooling flesh? Hundreds of varieties ensure that this most luscious of fruits – a favourite for a thousand years or more – is there just when you need it most. Text and photographs by Berrin Torolsan

  • Feast Food

    Biscuits and buns

    From Issue 38

    Plaits and rings, coils and crescents – freshly baked çörek are the treats of high days and holy days.

  • Hot Pots

    The secret of slow-cooked stews

    From Issue 37

    The Mongols were the masters of one-pot cooking. Berrin Torolsan hails one of their most lasting legacies, the yahni – a steaming, succulent, slow-cooked stew.

  • Heaven on a Plate

    Kurabiye, the classic shortbread

    From Issue 36

    Kurabiye have been a part of family life for generations and are best home-made. Every child has sweet memories of coming home to the heavenly aroma of freshly baked kurabiye. Every mother, every aunt, every grandmother, every neighbour has her own speciality.
    More cookery features

  • Shafts of Light

    The wondrous asparagus

    From Issue 35

    Some like their asparagus translucently white, others prefer crunchy and green. Whatever your choice, it takes lightness of touch to reveal the delicate flavour.

  • Championed by the cavalry

    Winning ways with okra

    From Issue 34

    Okra was so well established as a food in Turkey by the fifteenth century that Mehmet the Conqueror’s formidable horsemen adopted it as an emblem for their jousting tournaments.

  • Simply Sensational

    The ten best böreks

    From Issue 33

    It can be the star at family feasts or the perfect fast food. Berrin Torolsan serves up ten irresistible recipes. Photographs by Berrin Torolsan

  • Bounty of the Bosphorus

    Fish from the Bosphorus

    From Issue 32

    Surrounded by four seas and generously endowed with rivers and lakes, Turkey has a huge abundance of fish. But for the Istanbullu, nothing can compare with the fish of the Bosphorus.

  • Black Diamonds

    Truffles, the cook’s best friend

    From Issue 31

    All truffles conceal heady charms beneath a rough exterior. But Turkey’s truffles are a democratic luxury – far less costly than France’s precious and more pungent tubers.

  • Fruits of the Earth

    The suble sweetness of Jerusalem artichokes

    From Issue 30

    There’s nothing grand about the Jerusalem artichoke. The plant thrives on benign neglect, and its gnarled tubers look humble enough. Do not be deceived: its flavour is a revelation – subtle, sweet and quite irresistible.

  • Solar Power

    Tomatoes, capsules of sunshine

    From Issue 29

    Red peppers, chillies, maize and sunflowers set the Mediterranean ablaze with their pungent flavours and fiery colours. But of all the Aztecs’ gifts, it is the tomato, above all, that tastes of the sun

  • Golden Opportunity

    Cooking with carrots

    From Issue 28

    Carrots have a colourful past and the gift of making us see in the dark, but there’s more to them than meets the eye.

  • The Birth of the Big Apple

    Apples old and new

    From Issue 27

    DNA tests prove that Alma-Ata in Central Asia – literally ‘Apple Ancestor’ – is indeed the birthplace of the apple

  • The Milky Way

    Celestial puddings

    From Issue 26

    Simple, smooth and soothing, they satisfy the child in everyone. But milk puddings can also be gorgeously sophisticated.

  • Mellow Fruitfulness

    Chestnuts sweet and simple

    From Issue 25

    Sweet chestnuts, autumn’s bounty, spread from the forests of Anatolia to feed the Roman legions and provide daily sustenance to most of Europs. Today they are reserved for festiviites.

  • Soups for Cool Cooks

    Surefire soups

    From Issue 24

    Berrin Torolsan brings a taste of the Steppes into the urban kitchen with ten surefire, no-fuss recipes

  • Green & Green: Spinach and Purslane

    From Issue 21

    The sweetmeat of kings, the fuel of warriors, spinach is bursting with colour. The brighter, tangier purslane is a delight still waiting to conquer the West. Berrin Torolsan eats greens with relish

  • Pluck up the Courage

    Offal for the fearless

    From Issue 20

    Offal recipes for the stout of heart

  • Eggs on a Plate

    Classic recipes made easy

    From Issue 12

    The egg is the most flattering of partners. Berrin Torolsan makes light work of Turkish classics, from succulent meatloaf to silky meringues, from tangy sauces to honeyed crêpes.

  • Bright Orange

    A basket of zestful recipes

    From Issue 11

    Radiant orbs of sunshine, oranges bring delight to the senses with the heady scent of their blossom, the spice of their fragrant peel, the mouth-watering tang of their juicy flesh. And vitality comes as an added gift. From salad to sorbet, Berrin Torolsan picks the best of the zest

  • Winter’s Harvest

    Cracking nut recipes

    From Issue 3

    Capsules of concentrated energy, nuts are healthful as well as delicious

  • The Essential Rose

    Rose petal recipes

    From Issue 2

    Capture the taste of summer. Berrin Torolsan suggests recipes using rose petals and rose water.

  • The Golden Apple of the Hesperides

    The quintessential quince

    From Issue 1

    Daffodil yellow, downy texture with a strong musky aroma the quince can scent an entire room.

  • Bringing Back Babylon

    Delectable leeks

    From Issue 19

    The leek, friendly and fragrant, is about to enter its fourth millenium as a favourite ingredient of cooks around the globe.

  • A Vine Romance

    Vine leaves, the perfect wrap

    From Issue 18

    What plant can match the bounty of the vine? For thousands of years man has enjoyed the succelence of the grape, the headiness of its wines, its capacity to heal. But the fruit is not its only gift. Its lush green leaves, which offer dappled shelter from the summer sun, also create the perfect wrapping, bringing their delicate, delectable tang to the simplest foods.

  • A Feast of Figs

    The fabled fig

    From Issue 16

    It is hard to improve on the intense fragrance of the fabled fig, oozing with honeyed, nutty succulence.

  • The Noble Heart

    The globe artichoke

    From Issue 15

    A glorious thistle, the globe artichoke merits better than the usual simple boiling, especially if it is the giant Turkish globe, with its huge mouth-watering centre. Berrin Torolsan reveals how to do it justice

  • The Pumpkin Eaters

    Sweet and savoury magic

    From Issue 14

    There is more than a touch of the fairytale about the humble pumpkin. Berrin Torolsan conjures up a feast of gleaming dishes that bring a golden glow to winter.

  • Thyme & Tide

    Fragrant recipes form a herbal garden

    From Issue 13

    A hint of mint, a pinch of basil, a sprinkling of thyme, a garnishing of dill - one light touch is all it takes for the common herb to release its ancient magic.

  • Meatball Wizard

    The making of a great köfte

    From Issue 22

    From Alaska to Australia, from Mongolia to Mexico, meatballs come in a thousand guises.
    Berrin Torolsan works magic with mincemeat

  • Kastamonu: The Ottoman Farmhouse

    From Issue 45

    The İzbeli family have owned a country konak south of Kastamonu since the 17th century. Today the house, with its magnificent barns, is one of the best-preserved Ottoman country houses in Turkey. But there is nothing fusty about the place. It is a lively family home and a working farm – and a splendid place for guests to enjoy a breakfast voted one of the ten best in the land

  • The Taste of an Eastern Summer

    The marrow and its flower

    From Issue 4

    Summery herbs transform the versatile marrow into light succulent dishes.

  • Soul Fruit

    Pomegranates, jewels of winter

    From Issue 5

    Long enjoyed for their succulence and their inner beauty, pomegranates have been credited with uplifting properties. Berrin Torolsan presents a selection of recipes using these fascinating jewelled winter fruits

  • Fruits of victory

    Cherries, crimson globes bursting with tongue-tingling juices...

    From Issue 6

    Shining crimson globes bursting with tongue-tingling juices… Cherries, the trophy brought back to the West by Lucullus, are truly fit for a feast. Berrin Torolsan’s recipes capture the sweet taste of summer

  • Stock taking

    The perfect pilav

    From Issue 7

    Whether plain or exotic, pilav is deceptively simple to prepare yet the ultimate test of the accomplished cook

  • Youth Culture

    Cooking with yoghurt

    From Issue 8

    Elixir of sovereigns, libation of the gods, secret of longevity, the timeless taste of yoghurt has the right cool, fresh tang for summer.

  • Jewels of the Fall

    Pickles and relishes

    From Issue 9

    Nothing from the supermarket shelf can compare to home-made autumn pickles.

  • Pick a Pepper

    A New World treasure

    From Issue 42

    Some liked it hot, others liked it sweet. Either way the pepper revolutionised the Old World’s tastebuds like nothing else.

  • Purple Reign

    The aubergine

    From Issue 10

    Elegrant, mysterious, like a plant from another planet, the aubergine is the sultan of vegetables

  • The Poetry Within

    From Issue 41

    An antiquarian’s deliciously distressed house in the Aegean was the first port of call for Berrin Torolsan when she set out to write the text for an inspiring new book on Turkish interiors. In this extract from At Home in Turkey, with photographs by Solvi dos Santos, she is captivated by a low-key restoration.

  • Perfect Peach

    Summer's ultimate thirst-quencher

    From Issue 23

    For sheer sensual appeal, the peach has no rivals: its velvet skin and fragrant, juicy flesh are irresistable.

  • Confections of a Globetrotter

    From Issue 34

    Berrin Torolsan reviews ‘A King’s Confectioner in the Orient’ by Friederich Unger, edited with commentary by Priscilla Mary Işin.

  • The Family Brassica

    Cabbages and cauliflowers

    From Issue 17

    The cabbage and the cauliflower are the Old World’s culinary warriors, arming high tables and low with essential vitamins and minerals.

Buy the latest issue
Issue 66, December 2023 Turkey’s Centenary Issue
£ 15.00

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