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Steve Jackson



A great post! I dream of being able to tour places like this someday (:

As someone with an interest in languages, though, I'd like to know more about the word "zavotu", since it's not Russian. The Russian word for 'factory' that's similar is завод ('zavod'), but there is no form of it that would ever sound like 'zavotu', only the dative case 'zavodu', which in any event wouldn't be used in a factory's name.

I don't know Turkish, but Google Translate doesn't return anything for 'zavotu' from Turkish, and Googling the word itself just brings me back to your blog, and to a couple of misspellings of 'zivotu' from Slovak.

Interesting stuff, though--and it sounds like you had the perfect cheese maker's breakfast, indeed (:


Steve, thank you!

Erin -- thanks for the language insight. I think the language mystery can be solved as such: the Russian word 'zavod' was borrowed and changed to 'zavot' by Karsians (you're right, there is no word zavot or zavod in Turkish, but like any place Turkey has plenty of dialects).
The 'u' at the end is a 'noun modifier' --- the vowel added to the end of a noun in Turkish to indicate possession or modification, which vowel being determined by the rules of vowel harmony.
Eg 'cheese master' or peynir + usta becomes 'peynir ustasi' ... and so gravyer factory or gravyer+zavot becomes 'gravyer zavotu'.
At any rate, definately a Russian connection which wouldn't be surprising given that Kars was once occupied by Russia.
Thanks for reading!


This is the first post of yours I'm reading after signing up to read it through Facebook. Yea! I'm excited to read your posts. You and your husband do such glorious work together.

Why is the cheese season only 3 months? Don't cows produce milk every day?


Hi Karen -- great question! The cows don't produce enough milk to support cheese production when there is no pasture. As an indication of how important those lovely yellow flowers and green grass are to milk production .... the cheese season started 10-15 days late this year because of a late thaw.
During the winter some cows are sent to slaughter, others kept on, producing less milk which is sold to milk companies or consumed at home (depending on how many cows the household has) in the form of milk, kaymak, butter, etc. Even households that make their own cheese (most of them) don't produce cheese in the winter, but eat homemade cheese that's been aged in hides (or plastic).


Oh come on Robyn. How can you post this, knowing full well that most of us in Asia can't get decent (or affordable) cheese!!


Farang -- I know, I know! It's cruel of me, isn't it? And now you know the real reason we keep returning to Turkey again and again. Also, real bread -- something else that's in a bit of a shortage here in Asia!

Nate @ House of Annie

Be still my heart.

Crazy Radishes

As a Turk living in the States, posts like these are making me homesick. Thank you for writing so beautifully about my country's food and customs! It's interesting that grass-fed/pastured cheese is all the rage (and so rare and expensive!) in the States, whereas it's just standard production in Turkey.


Crazy Radishes, what a lovely comment. Makes my day (evening) -- thank you. Yes you're right, so much of what is all the rage and rare and expensive and artisan is just daily fare in Turkey. Just one of many reasons we love your country! (And miss it.)


Crispy cheese nuggets and bread for breakfast? Count me in!

thyme (Sarah)

What an experience. I can imagine my mouth would water seeing that fresh piece of warm cheese being pulled. Mmmmm...thank you for taking us along...

JoAnn Janjigian

Robin you're description are great Thanks so much. Pari Janabar!


You're welcome JoAnn! Thanks for the kind words and Happy New Year!

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