US tops importers of baklava from Turkey

US tops importers of baklava from Turkey

ANKARA - Anadolu Agency
US tops importers of baklava from Turkey Exports of Turkey’s traditional dessert, baklava, have reached $20 million in the last five years, according to the Turkish Statistics Institute (TÜİK). 

Baklava was exported to 48 countries on six continents, according to figures released May 25 by TÜİK, with the world’s largest economy, the United States, ranking at the top of the list.  
The top 10 countries to which Turkey exports baklava include Switzerland, France, Saudi Arabia, Australia, Russia, Iraq and Japan.        

Turkey has exported a total of 1,700 tons since 2011, TÜİK data showed. 

The U.S. imported nearly 312 tons of Turkish baklava, followed by Germany at 210 tons.      
According to Mehmet Yıldırım, head of the baklava makers union (Baktad), the most important reason for the increase in the exports was achievements in promotion.        

“Baklava’s coveted [protected] status by the European Commission also positively contributed to the exports,” he said.        

Characteristic of cuisine from the former Ottoman Empire, baklava is rich and sweet, with layers of filo pastry filled with nuts and syrup.        

According to Baktad, Turkey produces around 950 tons of baklava every day, while each Turkish person eats an average of 4.4 kilograms a year.        

The industry employs more than 60,000 people at around 25,000 companies across Turkey and makes an annual domestic turnover of around $3 billion.        

Certain companies export frozen baklava and others dry baklava, according to Baktad. Turkish baklava-producers started to sell the traditional dessert overseas for the first time in 2001, for a total of $110,000.

The cuisine of the southeastern province of Gaziantep earned praise in December 2015. It was added to UNESCO’s list of “The Creative Cities Network” on gastronomy, a network that was launched in 2004 and comprises 116 cities worldwide.