Quince | Avya
Quince is believed to have originated near the ancient city of Smyrna, Turkey. Smyrna, located in what is today called Izmir, has been populated since the 11th century BC. Due to the fertile land and advantageous strategic position along the Aegean Sea, Smyrna reached metropolitan proportions during the Roman Empire. From Smyrna, quince reached Roman trade routes and spread from the Middle East to China. In the east, quince was called ‘Golden Peach.’ To the west, where it was called the ‘Golden Apple,’ quince spread throughout the Mediterranean. Quince still grows wild in Turkey’s Aegean Region. Today, Turkey still leads the world in the cultivation of quince.
The woody texture of quince makes it nearly inedible when raw. In Turkish Cuisine, quince is baked, braised, roasted, poached and preserved. Poached quince served with clotted cream (avya tatlısı) is a common winter dessert. Quince is also served as component in many savory dishes including kebabs, meat stews and salads.
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