Melitour is a family business run by Meli and her daughter Asli, offering private and group tours that combine sightseeing and trekking with cultural education. Most of her tours feature her homeland of Turkey, but she also coordinates travel opportunities throughout Central Asia, Mongolia, China and the Arab World.
Meli has spent 39 years working in guided cultural tours, her experience and efforts have culminated in some incredible, authentic and exciting tours. Her genuine, gracious, and erudite guides are selected for their years of experience and all possess deep appreciation for their country. And there’s a bonus: tips, excursions and bathroom entrance fees are all-inclusive!
Meli goes an extra mile making sure her guests are welcome and well-educated. She helps you understand modern Turkey, its unique blend of old world tradition and up-to-date values, and is well-versed in Anatolian history, Islam, Sufism and Turkish cuisine. If nothing else, her clients’ feedback are praise enough: “If you want to be a traveler, and not just a tourist. If you want to broaden your knowledge and understanding of an ancient people and their fantastic history” (Janice B., CA). She has also worked with Rick Steves on videos in Turkey, and comes annually to the USA and Canada to conduct presentations on her tours.
She also offers special interest tours: past themes have included pottery and tiles, cruises, viewing 2006’s solar eclipse in Turkey, riding the Black Train, and yachting on the Turkish Riviera and the Greek islands.
For some firsthand accounts of a Melitour, check out: http://ltburgess.tripod.com/
Willamette International Travel is proud to have been working with Meli for years now. Call us for info or to book a tour, at 503.224.0180 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
TURKISH SPLIT BELLY EGGPLANT
Meli also holds cooking classes and dinners on her farm not far from Ephesus and Kusadasi. Check out one of the farm’s Turkish delights, Karniyarik—split belly eggplant:
1 lb small eggplant, peeled in stripes lengthwise
½ ground meat
2 onions, cubed
½ bunch parsley, finely chopped
1 tomato, petite diced
1 tomato, sliced in half moons
Green banana peppers, as many as eggplants
Ground pepper, salt, 2 tbs olive oil, frying oil
1 cup hot water
- Put the eggplants in salty water for 10 minutes. Heat vegetable oil in a deep pot, dry the eggplants and fry them.
- Drain excessive oil by resting them on a paper towel, then place in an oven dish.
- In a deep frying pan, heat olive oil. Add onions and stir for 3-4 minutes.
- Add ground meat, cook until the meat soaks all the juice it releases.
- Add diced tomato, stir until cooked.
- Turn off heat, add chopped parsley, salt and pepper.
- With the help of two spoons, slit eggplants into two, leaving tops and bottoms attached.
- Stuff eggplants with ground meat mixture.
- Place a slice of half-moon-shaped tomato and a green pepper on top of each split belly eggplant. Pour 1 cup of hot water on top and bake in a preheated oven at 400F until green peppers are nicely baked.
- Serve with rice and yoghurt.