the bazaar’s vaulted stone passageways, the
coppersmiths’ hammers tap-tap-tap patterns onto platters and bowls. Spice
merchants heap chromatic cones, geometrically shaped to fill the air with
scent. Shoemakers line their windows with handmade, cherry-red leather
slippers, each tip curved delicately upward like a crescent moon. Every piece
of merchandise, it seems, proclaims that Gaziantep (gah-zee-AHN-tep), in
Turkey’s southeast, is proudly alive with artisanal traditions.
And what Gaziantep is most proud of today is crafted not in its
bazaars but in its kitchens: baklava, the sensually syrupy pastry of
layered, paper-thin filo dough and crushed pistachios, first beloved
in the bygone Ottoman Empire and today on menus and grocery
shelves worldwide. Gaziantep’s baklava, locals say, isn’t just good:
It’s theworld’s best. That being quite a claim, I’ve come to investigate.