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Slow food, ancient cooking win Gaziantep spot on UNESCO list

Gaziantep province has been recognized by UNESCO and the European Union for its culinary excellence and hopes to become a center for gastronomy tourism in Turkey.
Baklava pastries are seen at a pastry shop on December 19, 2013 in Istanbul. While Turkey has vainly clamoured for years to join the European Union, a sweet pastry made in the country's southeast tasted more success on December 19, winning the EU's prized "protected status". The Gaziantep baklava, described as a "pastry made of layers of filo pastry filled with semolina cream and Antep pistachio", became the first Turkish product to receive the coveted status.  AFP PHOTO/ OZAN KOSE        (Photo credit shou

Baklava, now found at well-stocked grocery stores in the United States and Europe, is a must-have for Christmas and other festivities in the Middle East. But where can you taste it at its best? The kind that is flaky yet melts in your mouth, the kind that does not overwhelm with its sweetness, the kind that has enticing flavors to awaken all your senses? The kind that never uses honey or any other kind of nut but pistachios, mesmerizing with its 30-35 hand-rolled layers of dough, purified butter sprayed across each layer no heavier than an ant’s feet?

Culinary experts agree that Gaziantep produces the finest examples of Turkish sweets, and baklava is only one of the tantalizing tastes of Gaziantep. There are the sobiyet, havuc dilimi, bulbul yuvasi, fistikli dolama and kare baklava, just to name a few types, all made with almost exactly the same ingredients by the city's baklava masters, producing an orgasmic culinary experience with each version of the desserts.

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