The cold winds and freezing temperatures of winter have begun to subside as spring draws near.
Are you an herbivore who wants to enjoy a festival dedicated to herbs and vegetables on the Aegean coast? Boasting crystalline water and picturesque cottages, the town of Alacati, west of the city of Izmir, is the place you have been searching for. The small town has become a top spot for travellers in recent years, with windsurfing opportunities, sandy beaches, a steady wind and bustling streets where cafes and artisan shops pop up on each corner.
For Alacati residents, however, there is a staple that they need to continue their lives; herbs. With an undying passion that has persisted for years, locals have devoted themselves to collecting a variety of herbs from the hills. Moreover, the unique flavour of each herb is a delightful reflection of the town’s local cuisine, as well as aromatic olive oil. While those living in urban areas continue to consume fast food, local residents in Alacati invite you to discover the language of herbs at their annual herb festival. This year, the festival will kick off on April 7 and continue until April 10. There is much to be discovered at the festival venue each year where visitors learn about local herbs like “ebegumeci” (a herb which comes from the malva genus, called mallow in English and known for its soothing properties), “karabas otu” (lavender, which offers antioxidant benefits) and “sevketi bostan” (a type of thistle).
In addition to herbs, one can also find fresh produce; namely, jam made of herbs. Herbal and fruit jams such as thyme, watermelon, kiwi or lavender are just a few of the options available in stalls at the festival, which also offers gem stones, jewellery and Anatolian textiles in addition to colourful music that plays in the background.
Alacati’s most popular restaurants give their take on the region’s traditional herb dishes. A series of workshops is held on different subjects, such as the art of olive oil tasting, in addition to activities for children cantered on the festival’s theme of preserving tradition and culture.
Source: Daily Sabah