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High price of baklava doesn’t stop demand in Turkey

 In the production center of a dessert maker in Istanbul’s Karakoy neighborhood, there was an extraordinary flurry of activity. Baklava trays were being loaded into the ovens one after the other while apprentices diligently poured syrup over the freshly baked delicacies.

The impetus behind this sweet rush was to meet the surging demand from Turks, known for their sweet tooth since Ottoman times, during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Established in 1843, Karakoy Gulluoglu, one of the most famous dessert shops in the Turkish biggest city, consistently experiences the same high demand every Ramadan.

“This fondness stems from Turkish people’s desire to replenish the energy they expend after a day of fasting during Ramadan,” Nadir Gullu, owner of Karakoy Gulluoglu, told Xinhua at his production line.

“Baklava, often hailed as the Sultan of Iftar tables, and Gullac, a milky dessert, crafted exclusively for this special month, remain among the favorites of Turkish people during Ramadan,” he said.

Iftar is the evening meal marking the end of the daily fast during Ramadan.

Both delicacies have their origins in the imperial kitchens of the Ottoman era.

“There are 40 layers of phyllo in each of them. It must be rolled out very thin,” Gullu said, noting that “the Ottoman sultans used to reward the cooks with a bag of gold for achieving the thinnest layers of phyllo.”

However, the soaring inflation, which reached 67.07 percent in February, has impacted the cost of these delicacies.

The price of baklava now ranges from 400 to 1,100 Turkish liras (about 12.4 to 34 U.S. dollars) per kilogram, with notable increases from the previous year due to rising ingredient costs. Similarly, Gullac has seen a 60 percent price hike, now costing 500 liras per kilogram.

Despite the escalating inflation, Gokhan Gundogdu, the store manager, boasting 18 years of experience in the baklava industry, told Xinhua that Turks remain unwavering in their tradition of enjoying desserts during Ramadan.

“We experience high demand during this Ramadan as well, catering to both those who dine in our store after Iftar and those who purchase in packages for the occasion,” he explained, adding that the business has already seen an increase of at least 50 percent.

Local resident Zafer Yilmaz told Xinhua that both taste and budget are certainly considerations, but during Ramadan, price is not the primary concern of many Turkish people.

“Dessert is non-negotiable after our meals, particularly during Ramadan when it becomes a cherished tradition following Iftar,” he added while buying a kilo of pistachio baklava.

Famagusta Gazette