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Tastes of Turkey: unique desserts and sweets to try

By Jun Ji-hye

The Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism introduced its top four unique Turkish desserts that are sweet enough to replace chocolate in the appropriate season to enjoy hot coffee and sweet desserts.

The ministry said Turkey, cited as one of the world's top three gourmet countries, boasts a variety of desserts with a long history and tradition, in addition to the country's distinctive understanding of art and fashion, which is the synthesis of tradition and modernity, and its extremely dynamic shopping and entertainment life.

Lokum

Lokum / Courtesy of Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism
Lokum / Courtesy of Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism

Lokum, also known as Turkish delight, is a small, soft caramel-type dessert. Unlike jelly made with gelatin, lokum has starch added to give it a more chewy texture than jelly.

Lokum has a wide variety of flavors, shapes and colors. Depending on preference, nuts, walnuts, pistachios and almonds can be added.

It is usually covered with very fine sugar powder or coconut powder to add sweetness. Turkish people often enjoy lokum with coffee after meals.

Lokum was introduced to Europe in the 19th century and has become a favorite of people all over the world beyond Turkey, having appeared in the famous British novel "The Chronicles of Narnia" as "A snack of seduction."

In Turkey, tourists can taste exotic tasting lokum made with mint or lemon, or premium lokum with rose petals, saffron and pomegranate grains on the outside.

Baklava

Baklava / Courtesy of Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism
Baklava / Courtesy of Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism

Baklava is a pastry-type dessert containing nuts between layers of filo dough, which is thinner than paper.

It usually consists of more than 40 layers, filled with nuts and sugar, baked in the oven and then sprinkled with syrup to sweeten the treat.

It is said that the Ottoman royals developed a technique for making filo, and baklava became what it is today.

While it is as diverse and tasty as lokum, pistachio baklava is the most popular in Turkey.

Besides regular baklava, there are kuru baklava, which has a more crispy texture without spraying syrup, and cevizli baklava, which can be enjoyed more lightly with walnuts.

Sutlu nuriye, one of the lightest and most moist baklava, is made with milk instead of syrup.

Baklava is an iconic Turkish dessert. There is a 190-year-old baklava shop in Istanbul, while Gaziantep, southeastern Turkey, which makes 12 kinds of baklava, is called the capital of baklava.

Tavuk gogsu

Tavuk gogsu / Courtesy of Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism
Tavuk gogsu / Courtesy of Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism

Tavuk gogsu is the Turkish word for chicken breast, which is actually milk pudding with white chicken breast. But the chicken is hardly tasted― if people don't not know it, they would not notice it at all.

The chewy and creamy tavuk gogsu contains not only chicken breast but also milk, cinnamon and vanilla bean. This was one of the delicacies originally offered only to the Ottoman Sultans in the royal family.

But now it is a common dessert, which can be easily found in cafes and bakeries throughout the city.

If people put tavuk gogsu on a pan and bake it until one side turns dark caramel, people can make it kazandibi that has a richer taste than tavuk gogsu.

Kestane sekeri

As a Turkish proverb says "Eat sweet things and say sweet words," Turkish people love sweet desserts. It is also common to eat fruit and nuts in sugar or honey.

Kestane sekeri is a dessert made from candied chestnuts, reminiscent of Korean boiled chestnuts preserved in honey.

The cooking process is very similar, but the chestnuts boiled with syrup can be individually wrapped in parchment paper after being cooled to room temperature.

Kestane sekeri, coated with chocolate on the outside, is one of the locals' favorites.

It is famous for its specialties of Bursa, the capital of the Ottoman Empire.


By Jun Ji-hye

The Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism introduced its top four unique Turkish desserts that are sweet enough to replace chocolate in the appropriate season to enjoy hot coffee and sweet desserts.

The ministry said Turkey, cited as one of the world's top three gourmet countries, boasts a variety of desserts with a long history and tradition, in addition to the country's distinctive understanding of art and fashion, which is the synthesis of tradition and modernity, and its extremely dynamic shopping and entertainment life.

Lokum

Lokum / Courtesy of Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism
Lokum / Courtesy of Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism

Lokum, also known as Turkish delight, is a small, soft caramel-type dessert. Unlike jelly made with gelatin, lokum has starch added to give it a more chewy texture than jelly.

Lokum has a wide variety of flavors, shapes and colors. Depending on preference, nuts, walnuts, pistachios and almonds can be added.

It is usually covered with very fine sugar powder or coconut powder to add sweetness. Turkish people often enjoy lokum with coffee after meals.

Lokum was introduced to Europe in the 19th century and has become a favorite of people all over the world beyond Turkey, having appeared in the famous British novel "The Chronicles of Narnia" as "A snack of seduction."

In Turkey, tourists can taste exotic tasting lokum made with mint or lemon, or premium lokum with rose petals, saffron and pomegranate grains on the outside.

Baklava

Baklava / Courtesy of Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism
Baklava / Courtesy of Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism

Baklava is a pastry-type dessert containing nuts between layers of filo dough, which is thinner than paper.

It usually consists of more than 40 layers, filled with nuts and sugar, baked in the oven and then sprinkled with syrup to sweeten the treat.

It is said that the Ottoman royals developed a technique for making filo, and baklava became what it is today.

While it is as diverse and tasty as lokum, pistachio baklava is the most popular in Turkey.

Besides regular baklava, there are kuru baklava, which has a more crispy texture without spraying syrup, and cevizli baklava, which can be enjoyed more lightly with walnuts.

Sutlu nuriye, one of the lightest and most moist baklava, is made with milk instead of syrup.

Baklava is an iconic Turkish dessert. There is a 190-year-old baklava shop in Istanbul, while Gaziantep, southeastern Turkey, which makes 12 kinds of baklava, is called the capital of baklava.

Tavuk gogsu

Tavuk gogsu / Courtesy of Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism
Tavuk gogsu / Courtesy of Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism

Tavuk gogsu is the Turkish word for chicken breast, which is actually milk pudding with white chicken breast. But the chicken is hardly tasted― if people don't not know it, they would not notice it at all.

The chewy and creamy tavuk gogsu contains not only chicken breast but also milk, cinnamon and vanilla bean. This was one of the delicacies originally offered only to the Ottoman Sultans in the royal family.

But now it is a common dessert, which can be easily found in cafes and bakeries throughout the city.

If people put tavuk gogsu on a pan and bake it until one side turns dark caramel, people can make it kazandibi that has a richer taste than tavuk gogsu.

Kestane sekeri

As a Turkish proverb says "Eat sweet things and say sweet words," Turkish people love sweet desserts. It is also common to eat fruit and nuts in sugar or honey.

Kestane sekeri is a dessert made from candied chestnuts, reminiscent of Korean boiled chestnuts preserved in honey.

The cooking process is very similar, but the chestnuts boiled with syrup can be individually wrapped in parchment paper after being cooled to room temperature.

Kestane sekeri, coated with chocolate on the outside, is one of the locals' favorites.

It is famous for its specialties of Bursa, the capital of the Ottoman Empire.


Jun Ji-hye jjh@koreatimes.co.kr


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