A short history of Baklava

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Baklava is well known across Turkey and the middle east as a sweet dessert commonly found in many restaurants and convenience stores around the region. The ongoing popularity of the dish comes from its melt in your mouth texture as the puff filo pastry wrapping a filling of nuts bound with syrup or honey. These small pop sized desserts are the perfectly sweet way to end a hearty meal of other region classics such as hummus, kebabs, falafel and moussaka. 

But what is the history of this sweet, sweet dish Baklava? Its origins date back to the Ottoman Empire, and was one of the most popular dishes at the time. Founded at the end of the 13th century, the Ottoman empire took over North Africa, Southeast Europe and Western Asia for a substantial period of time between the 14th century, right up until the 20th century. 

The Ottoman empire was famous for its Ottoman Moors who even appear in the verses of Shakespeare. The Ottoman Moors were just some of the people from the empire involved in spreadings its customs and traditions across the wide expansive landmass that is Eurasia. 

There are those however that contest this history, claiming instead that the dish dates back to around 800 BC and the Assyrian empire. Despite these murky beginnings it is agreed that the dessert became most popular during the time of the Ottoman empire around the middle of the 15th century.

Whilst found commonly nowadays, the dish originally would have been used for special occasions and would have held significance for the occasion when eaten. The Sultan of Istanbul is noted for his lust for Baklava, increasing popularity for the desert once again around the 17th century. It became custom during this time to hold a ‘Baklava parade’ each year on the 15th day of the Ramadan festival celebration.