Swap the cold and the rain for alfresco lunches and almond blossom – spring has come early to the Mandarin Boutique Hotel. Opened in the summer of 2007, Mandarin is a delightful hotel situated in an unspoilt natural setting close to south-west Turkey’s magnificent Turquoise Coast.

Springtime at the Mandarin Boutique Hotel
Springtime at the Mandarin Boutique Hotel

While much of northern Europe has been battling severe storms and record rainfall, and North America has endured what felt like the onset of a new Ice Age, south-west Turkey has already been enjoying clear blue skies and daytime temperatures approaching 20 degrees C/68 F! All around, the first wild flowers of spring are beginning to turn the fields into brightly coloured carpets, while the blossoms of the almond trees are filling the air with their sweet scent.

So while you are looking for your home in the sun, why not make the most of an early-season break in this delightfully unspoilt corner of the Turkish coast? Naturally, it’s impossible to guarantee beach weather every day, but this is a lovely time of year for experiencing the picturesque countryside at its most verdant, exploring the nearby archaeological sites without the peak-season crowds, or simply unwinding and enjoying leisurely lunches in the sunshine.

The Mandarin is already down to our last available room over the Easter weekend, and some dates in May are filling up fast due to the special Walking and Photography Weeks, but there is still some availability throughout the spring.

Walking along the Lycian Way – guided walking weeks

Guided Walking Weeks are especially popular at the Mandarin
Guided Walking Weeks are especially popular at the Mandarin

While Mandarin’s rural and scenic location makes it ideal for keen walkers at any time of year, the special Walking Weeks in spring and autumn are perfect for those who prefer to walk in likeminded company, and with the benefit of a guide who knows the local area intimately. For a supplement of just €110 per person added to the normal accommodation cost, the hotel offers five full-day walking excursions, including picnic lunches and transportation where required.

There are just a couple of places left on the walking weeks commencing on 28 April and 6 October, but there is greater availability on 12 May and 13 October.

For more information, please visit www.villamandarin.com

At the Mandarin the half board arrangement includes not only the traditional Turkish breakfast and five-course dinners, but also complimentary tea and pastries in the afternoon. Here are both a delicious sweet and a savoury snack that you could enjoy as part of Mandarin tea time. Afiyet olsun! (Bon appetit!)

Turkish cuisine 1Dereotlu Biberli Pogaca – Pastries with dill and red pepper

1/2 cup of plain yoghurt, 
1 cup of olive oil
, 2 eggs, 
1 tsp salt
, 1 bunch fresh dill
, 2 red peppers (capsicums), 
3.5 cups of plain flour
, 1 tbsp baking powder

  • In a large bowl, add the yoghurt, olive oil, salt, one whole egg and the white of the second egg, setting the yolk aside for later. Beat to a fluffy mixture.
  • Finely chop the dill and the red peppers and stir into the mixture.
  • Mix the flour with the baking powder and gradually add it to the mixture through a fine sieve. Stir until all the ingredients are combined well into a firm dough.
  • Roll out the dough to roughly the thickness of a thumb and cut out rounds using a cookie or scone cutter. Brush with beaten egg yolk and place on a baking sheet.
  • Bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees C for 30 minutes.

Turkish cuisine 2Sultan Lokumu – Sultan’s Delight Ingredients

1 cup of plain flour, 
125 g unsalted butter, 
1 litre milk
, 1 cup of sugar, 
2 tsp vanilla essence, 
1/2 cup whipping cream/double cream, 
2 tbsp sugar for the cream, 
250 g desiccated coconut
, 1 cup of chopped walnuts

  • In a large saucepan, melt the butter and stir in the flour to make a roux.
  • Gradually stir in the milk, add the cup of sugar and half the vanilla essence and cook until the mixture starts to thicken, stirring constantly.
  • Cover the base of a large baking tray with the desiccated coconut, and pour in the custard mixture. Leave to set in the fridge for 4-5 hours.
  • Whip the cream to soft peak stage, then add 2 tbsp of sugar and the remaining vanilla essence and continue whipping to firm peaks.
  • Spread the cream over the cooled custard and sprinkle on the chopped walnuts.
  • Cut the mixture into 4-cm wide strips and carefully roll them up into small roulades.