All About Salep
In Turkey, the beautiful orchid grows wild in forests, meadows, and even on the roadside. It's prized not only for the flower trade but also as one of the key ingredients in salep.Once the orchid tubers are harvested, they are washed, boiled, dried, and then pounded into a fine flour that gives the drink a unique, earthy flavor and creamy texture.
Milk and sugar are cooked together with this flour until it becomes thick and rich. Once the hot milk is thickened, each mug is sprinkled with generous amounts of cinnamon
and consumed piping hot. There's nothing better than a steaming mug of salep on a cold winter day.
Different versions of salep are common throughout Eastern Europe and the Middle East, especially in countries that were once part of the Ottoman empire. Salep also became popular beyond the borders of the empire a long time before tea and coffee were the norms.
It's even said that a version of salep made with orchids native to the British Isles was served in English tea rooms during the 17th and 18th centuries.
In Turkey, salep is valued not only for its delightful taste but for its health benefits. It's said to relieve chest congestion and bronchitis, be good for the heart, increase energy levels and sexual desire. It's also believed to relieve constipation.