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Jan 02
Thursday
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Big-Time Baklava: Protected Status for Gaziantep’s Renowned Sweet

Karaköy Güllüoğlu's baklava, photo by Yigal Schleifer

Turkey’s European Union membership bid may be stuck in the mud, but a different dynamic is at work on the food front. To wit: the European Commission has granted Gaziantep baklava a spot on its list of protected designations of origin and geographical indications. It’s the first Turkish product and the 16th non-EU food to make it on the list. In honor of this much-deserved recognition, we’ve put together our own list of favorite places to get baklava in Istanbul and Gaziantep.

1. Karaköy Güllüoğlu

Located a stone’s throw from the Bosphorus, this shop has been catering to Istanbul sweet tooths since 1949. Done up in borderline tacky décor that looks like it is meant to evoke late Ottoman splendor, the place serves more than a dozen different kinds of phyllo-based sweets, including pistachio or walnut baklava, none of them resembling the cardboard-like, past-their-prime versions that are often dished out outside the Middle East.

2. İmam Çağdaş 

Founded in 1887, this kebab and baklava emporium in Gaziantep is run by Burhan Çağdaş, the grandson of İmam Dede. To best enjoy the shop’s exceptional pastry, he recommends forgoing knife and fork, taking it between two fingers and placing it upside-down before taking a bite.

Read the rest of our list at Culinary Backstreets.

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