Dietary baklava leads way to Ramadan feast
Acting on the tradition of Eid al-Fitr celebrations, Turkish families cook or buy sweets to mark the end of 30 days of fasting during the holy month of Ramadan. Thus, sales of every kind of sweets from candies to the delicate baklava have risen ahead of the holiday, which starts on June 4.
“We have expected an increase of 50 percent in sales during the Ramadan feast. This year, our licensed baklava for diabetic people has been favored much more,” Nadir Güllü, owner of the Güllüoğlu confectionery in Istanbul’s Karaköy district, told Anadolu Agency on June 3.
“Particularly, families with diabetic elderly people buy this stuff. Take-away orders for this kind of baklava also rise during the feast. Other most favored products include baklava with walnuts, wrapped baklava, baklava with cream,” he added.
Şöbiyet, a multiflaked pastry with cream and pistachio filling, follows baklava on the shopping lists of Turkish families ahead of Eid al-Fitr.
“Baklava has been part of our feast culture, thus the classical baklava always comes first in celebrations. Other products such as şöbiyet and sultan’s wrap follow it,” said Mehmet Yıldırım, head of Baklava and Dessert Manufacturers’ Association (BAKTAD) said.
Despite a surge in costs, the prices increased only modestly in 2019 so far, he added. Even so, sales volume has been slightly less than recent years, Yıldırım also said.
Turkey exports confectionery products worth 25 million Turkish liras ($4.25 million) annually, according to the BAKTAD head’s remarks.
He estimates that tourists visiting Turkey buy Turkish traditional desserts worth the same amount, doubling the country’s total sales of confectionery products to foreigners.
United States was the main destination for Turkish sweets in 2018, Yıldırım also said, adding that no other country can be a greater importer of those products in the near future.
Characteristic of the former Ottoman Empire cuisine, baklava is rich, sweet, with layers of filo pastry filled with nuts and syrup.
The pastry is one of the most popular sweets in Turkey, as well as in the Middle East and Balkan countries, and seduces locals and tourists alike.
Turkey’s southeastern province of Gaziantep, capital of baklava culture, earned praise in December 2015, as it was added to UNESCO’s list of “The Creative Cities Network” on gastronomy.