Everything about Baklava
While we were dining at this prominent Italian Restaurant across from Rome’s Colloseum, we had a little chat with the waiter, who happened to be Romanian.
“Do you know what my favorite dessert is?” he asked me.
As he had just brought us plates full of delicious Tiramisu; I looked at him and confidently asked “Tiramisu?“. He said “No” and surprised me and my friends with his answer.
He said “My favorite dessert is Baklava“.
Some of us were shocked (especially our Australian friends) and needless to say, the Turks in our group felt a little bit of pride.
“My mother” said the Romanian waiter “used to make baklava; dolma; sarma; bulgur; revani..” and the list went on..
Turkish cuisine and its hinterland
How did Baklava become the most favorite dessert of this Romanian and his mother? And the Greeks; Albanians; Persians; Lebanese; Syrians; Georgians; Armenians and Israelis.. They all exchanged the knowledge, technique and the flavours during the Ottoman era.
Although many nations claim it to be theirs, Baklava was one of the many recipes Turks brought with them from Central Asia. Refined over time, it took it’s final form in the imperial kitchen of the Ottomans, in Topkapi Palace.
C. Perry explains in his book “The taste for layered bread among the nomadic Turks and the Central Asian” that the tradition of making desserts by putting crushed nuts and sweets between thin layers of pastry went all the way back to early Turkic tribes living in Central Asia.
The most popular Baklava related event in Ottoman history was the Baklava ceremony of the Ottoman Army which started around 17th century. In the middle of Ramadan month, the Ottoman king would have a tray of baklava made for each group of 10 soldiers in the Army which would be served and consumed at this official ceremony.
It is called بقلاوة in arabic, باقلواin Persian, baqlawad in Somalian, baqlawa in Kurdish, bakllava in albanian, baclava in Romanian, baklava in Hungarian, баклава in Serbian and Bulgarian, baklava in Bosnian and Croatian, bakława in Polish, baklava in Czech, пахлава in Russian, баклава in Ukrainian, μπακλαβάς in Greek, փախլավա in Armenian, ფახლავა in Georgian, বাক্লাভা, in Bengali.