I have something of a sweet tooth and adore anything sweet and sugary. Turkey didn’t disappoint when it came to sweet treats and confectionery, some of it too sweet even for me, and that’s a first… The Spice Bazaar in Istanbul had stalls piled high with endless varieties of Turkish sweets and sugary scrumptiousness.
All sorts of varieties sold by this stall (below) note the Turkish Viagra right in the middle – also seen elsewhere labelled Ottoman Aphrodisiac!
Lokum, to use it’s Turkish name, has been produced since the 16th century and it’s basically made of solidified sugar and pectin. Turkish Delight in Turkey is firmer than I’ve had in the UK, slightly more chewy and much subtler. As well as the lemon and rosewater flavours there are dozens of variations on a theme; pistachio, almond, walnut, chocolate, ginger, clove and coconut to name but a few. My particular favourite was pomegranate with pistachios. Scrummy.
Baklava is a highly syrupy pastry made with layers of phyllo (filo) pastry, chopped nuts, syrup, and cut into cubes. It comes with a variety of luscious fillings, such as pistachio, hazelnuts and almonds. There’s also Kunefe, a ‘shredded wheat’ variety, of Baklava which looks like little bird nests or rolls stuffed with nuts and other goodies. Are your fillings screaming yet?
There are many confectioners in The Sultanahmet where you can try different varieties of Turkish Delight before having a box made up of favourites. Prices ranged from 38TL – 68TL per kilo and boxes could be bought in various sizes from a quarter to 1 kilo. And, in case you’re wondering, they did all make it home to friends and family!