Once a sweet fit for sultans, baklava now gains a mass appeal but doesn't lose its traditional basis. One of the most famous baklava experts shares his trade secrets with Daily Sabah.
Gaziantep - As the first Turkish product to be granted protected status by the European Union (EU), Antep baklava dates back to the Ottoman Empire. The only way to achieve the unmatched taste is through a master pastry chef 's skilled hands and great attention to detail.
Baklava master Mehmet Akıncıoglu spoke with Anadolu Agency about the EU's registration of baklava as a protected item. He believes the baklava's delicious flavor is rooted in the past. Emphasizing the great care the Ottoman's showed to baklava, Ankıncıoglu said, "In the time of the padisahs all types of baklava were prepared and sent for special occasions. We have entered a new age, but we maintain the tradition. At funerals, weddings, holidays, baklava is never missing from our tables.
On trips, while visiting as a guest, baklava is the first among gifts." Akıncıoglu described how foreign and Turkish visitors to Antep love the baklava. He stressed that with the EU registration, interest in the sweet treat will increase. He is already seeing this, with orders coming in from towns with unusual names.
The traditional Antep baklava requires not only skill, but also time and precision. Akıncıoglu knows the time is worth it. "Its taste brings people joy," he said. "When people around the world say baklava, Turkey and, of course, Gaziantep comes to mind. When you look at the color of a good piece of baklava you can't help, but be captivated. When you press into it with a fork you should hear the crackling noise. When it is eaten the smell of the pistachios and butter should be felt within."