So many things come to mind when one says winter. And indeed foremost among them are salep and boza. Both ancient drinks dating back thousands of years, they come with myriad health benefits on top of their delicious taste. And what is more, both have an important place in both the Turkish and the world history. Come now, and have a look at what you need to know about salep and boza, two heartwarming winter drinks...
Things you should know about salep
Salep, a drink we all love to drink, is made from the powdered roots of a plant. It is a wire rooted herbaceous plant from the salep family. It is also referred to as salep orchid, orchid, orchis, busy lizzie, timothy grass and salep. The plant has a vertical body and purple flowers. It emits a fragrant herbal scent. The parts used in making salep are the roots, as well as the two root tubers. The salep plant is mostly grown in Western Black Sea, Marmara, Aegean and Western Mediterranean in Turkey. You will find the most delicious salep drink at the Kastamonu Taşköprü, Burdur Bucak and Yozgat Akdağmadeni districts. This plant is also grown in many countries such as Albania, Syria, Lebanon, Bulgaria, Greece and Iran.
The salep drink goes through some interesting stages of preparation before being served. The salep plant is slowly unearthed. The plant is not pulled out directly; firstly, the soil around it is dug. The plant is washed, and then boiled in milk and water. It is strung on a rope under the sun to let it dry. Once it has dried, it is powdered to become the favorite drink of winter months. Salep also has myriad health benefits. These include:
- It encourages those who do not fancy milk to consume more milk and increase their calcium intake. It warms you up with its cozy aroma during harsh winter months when flu infections, bronchitis and coughing fits wreak havoc.
- It also helps you feel full.
- It keeps you in fine fettle with its rich content of minerals.
- It is known to give the skin a more radiant and glowing look.
- It helps the tissues heal thanks to its adhesive mucilage content.
- It strengthens the heart and balances the body temperature.
The salep plant is known to have been used for at least 3,000 years. Salep’s absorption into the Turkish culture occurred at around the 8th century, the same time when Turks started converting to Islam. However, what is known with certainty is that it was used for medical purposes in the 17th century and drunk together with various spices and rose water. It is also known to have been consumed in the 18th and 19th centuries by adding sugar, honey, molasses, ginger, cinnamon, rose water and some floral waters to sweeten its taste. It is also known that in the 18th century, salep shops were opened in the UK, and France also later joined this trend and started selling salep in the mornings. In Athens also, salep is a drink that people have come to love and drink on a regular basis.
Things you should know about boza
Boza is another drink besides salep that comes to mind when one talks about the “essentials of winter”. Quite popular during the Ottoman era, it is still a drink enjoyed by many. Made from sugar, water and millet, it is one of the oldest Turkish drinks known to us. According to some sources, it is one of the world’s oldest drinks. It can even be called an early version of beer with its natural alcohol content. It was heavily consumed during the alcohol ban in the Ottoman period. Kipchak Turks are known to have introduced boza to Anatolia. It was then taken to the Balkans. Evliya Çelebi mentions the existence of more than 300 boza shops in the 17th century Istanbul. In his travel book which he wrote in the early 14th century, the Moroccan explorer Ibn Battuta talks about boza in the following terms “The sour taste I got when tasting it made me drop it like a hot potato. After the repast, I made a few queries to find out what it really was, and I was told it was a dazzling drink made from Duki (fine bulghur) grains. They belong to the Hanafi sect and to them, dazzling drinks are halal. People here call this drink made from duki boza.” Boza has evolved many times over time. Flocking to Istanbul especially after the Ottoman-Russian war, a new wave of migrants from the Balkans brought not just themselves but also their culture with them, which saw them distill boza and put their own spin on the drink with different flavors. It was stored in marble pots and served this way. Boza has the following health benefits:
- It is a complete source of vitamins and minerals with its niacin, thiamine, sodium, phosphorus, iron, calcium, carbohydrate and riboflavin content.
- With its lactic acid content, it functions as a preventive measure against heartburn, flatulence, acid indigestion and bloating.
- It is known to induce the production of more breast milk in women.
- It is rich in probiotics.
- Its phosphorus and calcium content is good for the bones.
- It is ideal for those who wish to gain weight thanks to its high calorie content.
Elite World Hotels is now staging Salep and Boza days to bring to you these two popular winter drinks. All you need to do is put your feet up and let your taste buds be amazed with the unique flavors winter offers.
Salep and Boza Days will continue until 28 February in all Coffee Company shops at Elite World Hotels.
These articles may also be of interest to you:
Protection from Illnesses During Winter
8 Terrific Routes that are Suitable for the Winter Holiday
7 Tea Recipes that help with Edema
5 Winter Teas that Protect against Diseases