The weather in Fethiye has certainly been el schorcio of late, with temperatures topping 40 degrees. But this is not a problem for those in the know, as every summer some enterprising individuals make snow sherbet, a unique drink that helps to keep everyone cool!
Snow is collected from the high mountains above Fethiye to make a famous and refreshing drink called kar şerbeti or snow sherbet. Pulverized snow is mixed with a splash of sweet grape molasses or fruit syrup and served with a spoon. This natural slush puppy or granita has been popular in the region for millennia. It is said that, as far back as Roman times, people enjoyed these icy drinks.
Snow that lasts all summer
Even during the hottest summer months, temperatures in the yayla, or highland pastures above Fethiye, are at least 10-15°C cooler than on the coast. Up to three thousand metres above sea level, these areas are covered in snow throughout the winter, and in shady places some of it lasts long into the summer.
The Iceman Cometh
Enter the Snow Sherbet Man!
The kar şerbetici, snow sherbet man in English, harvests snow from the mountains and brings it to hot coastal towns.
There are several Snow Sherbet Men in Fethiye who bring snow from the Taurus and Ak (White) Mountains above Fethiye and, using a motorised freezer mounted atop wheels, trundle their product around the markets and streets.
Mother Nature’s ultimate cocktail
The recipe is simple: scoops of compressed pristine snow, crushed with a pestle and mortar, are mixed with either pekmez (grape molasses) apricot or cherry syrup and poured into a glass or cup complete with a spoon. It’s a wonderful way to create a uniquely natural Turkish summer cooler.
This is a real treat and not to be missed. The Tuesday and Friday markets have sherbet stalls and on most days there are men selling the drinks from their carts around the town.