Monday, 1 September 2008

The most authentic Turkish Delight

What it is: If you're in the environs of the Egyptian Spice Bazaar by the Golden Horn and are in the mood for a bit of an explore of the back streets and more than a bit of authenticity, have a short wander to an old-fashioned family run sweet shop, complete with jars full of colourful boiled sweets and fondant fancies, that makes gorgeous Turkish Delight on the premises. As I write the flavours currently on offer include rose (gül), lemon (limon), plain (sade), coconut (hindistan cevizi) and hazelnut (findikli). If money's an issue at this time of economic crises, you'll be pleased to find that the chewy-gooey cubes of lokum will cost you around a tenth of the price of what you'll pay in the touristy spots. 

I had the privilege to spend a morning with the lads who work in the shop photographing them making the lokum. The mixture is poured into huge trays after being heated to a given temperature in large copper vats with a mechanical arm that stirs it. The trays are then left to set before the delight is extracted in the form of the familiar cubes.

Where it is: Stand with the Egyptian Spice Bazaar to your left and the Golden Horn on your right and make your way up the main street until you get to an intersection with lights. Immediately after these lights take a diagonal left down a narrow side street crammed with specialist shops of the kind you only get to see in Turkey. Look out for the shop selling just weighing scales (from kitchen to industrial) and that stocking all manner of cologne. A few minutes up the street you'll spot the mustard-yellow frontage of Altan Sekerleme, proudly displaying its wares in its window.

Click this link for photos of Istanbul and where you can also buy a print of the nostalgic Altan Sekerleme shop as seen above.

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