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Baklava production in Gaziantep doubles ahead of Eid al-Fitr

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In anticipation of the upcoming Eid al-Fitr celebration of the end of the holy month of Ramadan, demand for baklava from Turkey’s southeastern province of Gaziantep has skyrocketed, doubling production, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported on Monday.

Gaziantep baklava was the first Turkish product to receive a designation of geographical origin and protected geographical indication by the European Union and is a key delicacy offered in Turkey during Eid-al Fitr.

Baklava is a popular dessert in Syria and many other Middle Eastern countries, traditionally served on special occasions such as Eid al-Fitr and Syrian Christmas. It consists of 24 layers of buttered phyllo dough filled with either pistachios or walnuts and is sweetened with a syrup made from sugar, orange blossom water and lemon juice, most often presented in a diamond shape.

The recipe was introduced in Gaziantep in 1871 by Çelebi Güllü, who learned it from a baker from Damascus.

The meticulous craftsmanship of Gaziantep baklava is remarkable. A single master takes an average of four to five hours to prepare one kilogram of baklava by hand. This dedication to quality has led to huge demand, both in Turkey and around the world, in the run-up to Eid-al Fitr. To cope with the rush, the baklava producers in Gaziantep are extending their working hours to meet the high expectations of their domestic and foreign customers.

Levent Aktaş, a prominent baklava producer, gave an Anadolu correspondent insight into Gaziantep’s reputation as the baklava capital of the world.

“When you think of baklava, Gaziantep immediately comes to mind,” Aktaş said. He highlighted the efforts being made to ensure that both local and international customers can enjoy this exquisite dessert during the upcoming festive season.

Aktaş also pointed out the wide distribution of their products, from the US to Japan, with a particularly strong customer base in Dubai. Nationally, although there is strong demand from major Turkish cities such as İstanbul, Ankara and Izmir, they also receive orders from all over the country.

Ömer Faruk Çiftçi, a baklava producer, told Anadolu about the logistical feat required to meet the booming seasonal demand. He mentioned that more than 100 dedicated employees are working in their factory to cope with the surge in orders for Eid celebrations.

“While the daily production of baklava in Gaziantep is usually around 30 to 35 tons, it increases to an impressive 65 or 70 tons during Eid al-Fitr,” Çiftçi explained. He proudly pointed out the efficiency of the distribution network, which guarantees the delivery of domestic orders within 24 hours and international shipments within 48 hours.

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