This is Turkish yogurt soup--çorbasi means soup. And yayla means plains, the high places where the best yogurt was made in the days before refrigeration, according to "Samples from Turkish Cuisine," a book I bought in Istanbul.
But I had the soup here in Los Angeles, not in Istanbul. And not in a restaurant but at a dinner in the Turkish consular residence, hosted by Turkish consul general Can Oğuz.
Light and delicately flavored with mint, the soup contained a few grains of rice, nothing more. One day I'll make it and then share the recipe.
Before dinner, we met for drinks outside, and I tasted something rare in Los Angeles, Turkish wine. This is Sevilen Narince Sauvignon Blanc, glowing in the flames from the fire pit.
This same wine accompanied dinner, along with Pendore Öküzgözü from Kavaklidere, a wine company founded in Ankara in 1929. Kavaklidere's wines come from several vineyard areas in Anatolia. Pendore is its chateau style winery in the Aegean region in western Turkey.
Then came manti, tiny beef-stuffed dumplings typical of Kayseri in Central Anatolia (above). These were topped with yogurt, butter and pepper flakes. Mint, sumac and Urfa red pepper were also set out so guests could season the manti to taste.
Baklava may be easy to find in Los Angeles, but not freshly made, crunchy, Turkish style baklava only lightly moistened with syrup. This is bourma style baklava, rolled around a walnut filling rather than baked flat.