The foodie traveller … on the baklava trail in Turkey

Baklava, from the south-eastern city of Gazantiep, was granted protected status last year: apparently the secret is in the local pistachio nuts

Sticky, sweet, crunchy, flaky, soft and nutty… baklava is a staple of every pastry shop in the east from Athens to Ankara, but the ancient city of Gaziantep (previously Antep) in south-east Turkey, is the only place in the world where it has been granted protected status – granted by the European Commission in 2014.

Although there are many places that claim to have invented it, it’s likely that baklava originated in what is now the Middle East. During the Byzantine empire, it made its way westward into Anatolia, and then to Istanbul, where Ottoman chefs adapted it for the notoriously picky sultans living in Topkapi Palace.

Related: Istanbul city guide: essential sights, and where to eat, drink and stay

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