How do you like your cheese? Can I suggest serving it out of a hairy goat's skin bag? If you haven't tried it you should. Tulum peynir (cheese matured in a goat's skin) is my favourite Turkish cheese. If you enjoy a mature cheddar, this is the cheese for you. Finding a cheese that was actually made in an animal skin is quite difficult now, but the cheeses matured in more commercially suitable tins or plastic vessels are almost as good. I'm not keen on cheese made from goats' milk as I can always detect that 'farmyard tang' which lingers after the first bite, so I try and find tulum cheese made from sheep's milk. Take time to pick the one that suits you. Cheese stalls on markets or supermarkets will let you taste before you buy, so work your way through the display until you find the one that tickles your tastebuds. İzmir tulum is my favourite; not too hard or crumbly, it is easy to slice thinly and has a full flavour. Teo loved Bergama tulum; the older the better, with a sharp aftertaste that could bite back - ideal for a rakı meze. If you are looking for a cooking cheese, tulum will serve you well. It melts quickly and a little gives a lot of flavour. It also grates well and is a good substitute for Pecorino or Parmesan in pesto.
As pine nuts and Parmesan are so expensive in Turkey, my go to recipe for a pesto that doesn't cost the earth is:
A cup of sunflower seeds, lightly toasted.
4 cloves of garlic
Two handfuls of green basil
A cup of olive oil.
Combine these four ingredients in a blender or pestle and mortar until you have a rough paste, then add a cup of grated tulum cheese. Keep a bowl on hand in your fridge to use in pasta or spread it on toast, baked aubergines, peppers or courgettes.