Coffee Cup Conversations
Moving to a foreign country is a journey, an adventure, that opens doors to new cultures and to magical experiences. However, as much we say we are open to change, sometimes it’s nice to have familiar things around us that remind us of the things we know. It’s been twenty years since I moved out here from the UK and I’ve only been back to London a few times since. Personally there’s not much that I miss. I love my current life in North Cyprus too much to even think about the past; it’s more about the friends I left behind more than anything! The other day though I was sent back to my childhood when I was fortunate enough to taste the traditional jam donuts of the very popular Food Lodge Artisan Bakery & Bistro in Çatalköy.
I may not have made the discovery of the century, but when Latifa and Sonja treated me to a sample of their mouth-watering delicacies, I thought I had uncovered an oasis in the desert. The Food Lodge has been open for nearly two years and is a popular meeting place for locals looking for a friendly face and a tasty treat. Of Moroccan descent, Latifa grew up in the UK but has also lived in Germany and Dubai. Her background in food technology and nutrition has given her a passion for all things culinary. With her partner Sonja by her side, they eventually came to live in North Cyprus in the hope of establishing their “dream” business.
As I have said it’s the small things that make us happy and remind us of our childhood and of “home” – wherever that used to be. A simple donut may make me smile, but a French baguette or an Italian ciabatta might just be as significant to someone who misses these specialty breads. Latifa tells me that she bakes all the food on the premises, in a small and cosy shop set off the main road in Çatalköy. The ingredients she uses, she assures me, are all fresh and local, and even though no additives or preservatives are used, the shelf life of her breads last longer than those sold in the supermarket. Latifa is quick to point out that she bakes new loaves every single day.
As a nutritionist Latifa often gives advise to her friends and customers about eating healthily. At the Food Lodge there is, for example, gluten free bread for those with gluten intolerance. Interestingly, as a supporter of the local cancer charity Tulips, she recently gave a fund raising and awareness talk about eating the right food when battling cancer. During treatment many sufferers lose their appetite and Latifa spoke about how to keep your strength and to boost your immune system.
Before meeting the lovely Latifa and Sonja in person I had always wanted to pop into the Food Lodge. I pass it every weekend on my way to visiting my family who live in the area. Having tasted the donuts I wanted to see what else is on offer. Little did I know that I’d be getting a second trip back to my childhood. Alongside the breads and donuts and other baked goodies on offer, there is a selection of sweets in large jars that resemble a “pick n mix”. From pear drops and Rhubarb & Custard to cola bottles and Black Jack liquorice, there is a sweet for all ages!
The Food Lodge is currently holding classic movie nights on a Thursday evening, in association with the DVD Shop. It’s fast becoming a popular event. The “cinema ticket” price of 12 TL includes the film, popcorn and a soft drink. Latifa also tells me that the Food Lodge is open to hosting private parties and can cater for most special occasions.
Everyone from all walks of life, locals and ex pats alike, can find something to suit their palate at the Food Lodge, and if you want to find out more then I advise you to either pop in or browse through their website www.foodlodge.org. Be warned, however, eating from the Food Lodge can become a serious addiction!