Far from a dull staple of everyday life, bread – as all serious travelers know – is a varied and exotic boon to the adventurer. Part practical, part cultural, part affordable, and entirely satisfying, bread is the go-to chow in any number of situations: you’re in a shop and you can’t read the labels, you’re on the road and you need something durable in your rucksack, you want to put something solid in your belly before a night of drunken debauchery, or you simply want a meaningful interaction – the breaking of bread – with new friends from vastly different backgrounds.
Bread is also a guidebook of sorts, an edible Hitchhiker’s Guide which can tell you a lot about the culture in which you find yourself. The way the bread is made, the ingredients, the things you add afterwards and time and method of devouring the stuff, all differ from place to place – making it a delicious way to learn about the people that made it.
Take the Turkish yufka for example. Flour, salt and water are worked into a dough and left to rest in ball shapes until they’re ready to be painstakingly stretched into thin ovals and then rolled into circles. After being cooked on a griddle, they are rested once again, this time in clean muslin; when finally ready, the silky bread is used like pastry, to be consumed with a filling of nuts or fruit – or even better, with cheese, meat or vegetables.
This latter variation often winds up forming the coiled pastry treat of börek – a familiar idea to all those who’ve travelled around south-east Europe. It certainly makes for an exotic alternative to a western sandwich! And it’s no surprise, given that the history of yufka can be traced back at least one thousand years to the nomadic tribes who made their way from Mongolia to Turkey’s Anatolia region. When you eat yufka on the go, you’re part of a long history of eating that particular speciality on the road!
You might also like:
From the Venezuelan arepa to the Swiss zopf, there is a full alphabet of international bread varieties to be admired in this new infographic from the folks at Expedia. It’s a great way to get a bit of insight into potential destinations before you go – and might even get you digging around in the world foods section of the local supermarket, such are the enticing wonders on show! Wherever you go in the world, be sure to always be thankful for bread, the traveler’s friend – and maker of friends.
An A-Z of Breads From Around the World brought to you by Expedia Canada