I love how Turkey has a penchance for sweets. Big thanks to the Ottoman rulers who cultivated the population’s sweet tooth with unique delicacies.
Mostly everone associate’s Turkey with two sweets: Turkish Delight (locally callef lokum) and bahklava. My sisters have been bugging me for bakhlava ever since I got here. Bakhlava indeed is love. The very mention of its name lights up mine and my sister’s eyes. The combination of pastry sheets, honey, and nuts is just amazing.
At Taksim, lokum and bahklava compete for space.
Just like Turkish lutes, provenance and heritage seems just as important in lokum and bahklava as makers advertise their year of origin. Choose among 1461, 1864, or 1905.
This shop seems really popular as they have multiple branches. They also have nicely furnished cafes.
But Turkey is more than these. There are other delights such as fried dough dipped in honey.
Citir Halka is saccharine heaven. Bite into it and honey drips. Fancy cafes at Taksim also sell this but you can get this local treat at a stall at the market street in Uskudar.
Kazandibi is a caramelized chewy milk pudding. It’s so good especially with a scoop of ice cream. You wanna close your eyes and remember your past loves.
Sharing the spot of my favorite dessert with kazandibi is sutlac, a creamy rice and milk pudding that looks like a souffle.
Unfortunately, it’s impossible to bring these desserts back home with you. They wouldn’t last in a 12-hour flight.
And of course, there’s Turkish ice-cream. That sticky and chewy ice-cream made thick by extracts from the root of a rare orchid. It’s as much fun to eat as it is to purchase some on a cone as the vendors try all sorts of tricks.
For more conventional tastes, Turkey has wonderful hand made chocolates, too.
There’s also the popular Moazzaic Cake which is a dark chocolate cake with crushed cookies. Perfect with Turkish coffee.
This dessert from a cafe in the old city is banana on a chocolate cake smothered with thick marshmallow-like cream and nuts.
It’s like “tres leches” with a burnt caramel top. Very good with just the right amount of soaking.
With hefty servings of main meals, the challenge in Turkey is leaving room for all these desserts.