Sweet success as Turkish baklava wins prized EU status

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 region tasted more success on December 19, winning the EU’s prized ‘protected status’. — AFP pic
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 region tasted more success on December 19, winning the EU’s prized ‘protected status’. — AFP pic

BRUSSELS, Dec 20 — While Turkey has vainly clamoured for years to join the European Union, a sweet pastry made in the country’s southeast tasted more success yesterday, 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.

The sweet and nutty treat is one of 16 non-EU products to win the logo, including Darjeeling tea and 10 Chinese foodstuffs.

At the same time, the European Commission also recognised foods from Greece — Turkey’s arch rival and recipient of billions in EU bailout funds — and euro-sceptic Britain.

Greece’s Santorini tomato, a cherry tomato that draws its fruity sweetness from lengthy exposure to the sun and a volcanic soil, won protected status, joining such Greek delights as feta cheese.

And Britain won protected status for its Yorkshire Wensleydale, a creamy-white cheese made in the northern county since the 11th century.

The Wensleydale joins the Cornish pastry, Scottish wild salmon and the Birmingham Balti.

Turkey, which first formally applied for membership of the European bloc in 1987, has seen its application crawl along at a glacial pace.

But its food and drink seems to be winning friends around the world, with Turkish coffee being included this year on the UNESCO intangible cultural heritage list. — AFP

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