Foodie Trips

Sweets that saw the birth of modern Turkey

Hafiz Mustafa 1864 is Turkey’s one of the most favourite baklava and Turkish Delight producer. They produce the best quality and hand-made baklava, turkish delight, khunafa and other desserts made fresh in the shop daily.

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Catering to Turks’ sweet tooth since 1864

They were founded in 1864 during the first years of Sultan Abdulaziz’s reign in the Ottoman Empire, at shop number 86 on the street now known as Hamidiye street which is located not far from their current flagship store. The founder Ismail Hakki Zade wanted to be a gold dealer but ended up made candy in the basement of his shop. His son, Hafiz Mustafa, was a muezzin at Arpacilar Mosque near the shop and worked alongside his father. Hafiz was credited to invent “pogaca” (pam sized bun), and won 11 medals in Europe in confectionery between 1926-1938. His entrepreneurial skills made the shop successful and the rest, they said was history.

But it was Hafiz’s daughter-in-law and granddaughter that turned the company to the efficient and profitable business. By the fifth generation, they sold the business to another person, but for whatever reason, it swapped hands again in 2007 to the current owners that brought the business back to its basic with one store to regain confidence of its loyal fans.

(PS: it has now 4 branches across the city.)

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Turkish delights

Turkish delight or lokum is a family of confections based on a gel of starch and sugar.  The origin of the confection is not well established, but it is known to have been produced in Turkey as early as the late 1700s, hence its name. However, the word lokum comes from the Arabic al-halkum. In the Arab world, Turkish delights are called rāḥat al-ḥulqūm (رَاحَة الْحُلْقُوم) which means “throat comfort”.

Premium varieties consist largely of chopped dates, pistachios, and hazelnuts or walnuts bound by the gel; traditional varieties are often flavored with rosewater, mastic, Bergamot orange, or lemon. The confection is packaged and eaten in small cubes dusted with icing sugar or copra (dried coconut) to prevent clinging.

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Baklavas

The shop sells a lot of different kinds of baklavas and other sweets. You choose the size of the box and then fill it up with your choices. The price is by the weight of the content you have chosen. But you should pack it full because they are crumbly and flaky so they do not transport well if loose packed.

Flavours of the baklava (R to L) – Fıstıklı Prenses (princess pistachio), Fıstıklı Dürüm (peanut butter), Fıstıklı Kuru Baklava (dry baklav with pistachio), Fıstıklı Ankara Dolma (Aanaka dolma wth pistachio), Cevizli Ankara Dolma (Walnut Ankara dolma) and Fıstıklı Padişah (Padishah with nuts).

They keep for quite some time in room temperature because of the amount of honey they have used. But as do with all pastry, they deteriorate as soon as you place them into a fridge. So the advice is to consume them fresh, as all sweets in Hafiz Mustafa have no artificial ingredients and preservatives. Enough of sounding like an advertisement.

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Sweets

Hafiz Mustafa 1864 of late is famous for being a cafe to watch the world goes by. Strategically located at the junction of the train station and the road leading to Topkapi palace, it produces some of the best confectionery delights in Istanbul.

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Turkish tea

The most striking details are the “Hafiz Mustafa 1864” logo emblazoned in gold on every service plate, glass and cup.

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Raspberry pudding

Frambuazlı Muhallebi or raspberry budding was a cold dessert and surprising, not that sweet. The pudding was smooth and full of milk taste, not like those manufactured in factories or milk powder. The topping was raspberry flavoured by the fruits were seasonal.

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The signature tin box

It is a witness to 155 years of  history in the making, living through the final years of the Ottoman Empire, the first and second constitutional changes, Istanbul under occupation, and the proclamation of the republic of Turkey. It saw the first street lights on poles, the first horse street cars and the world evolving around its store. I hope it will survive another 150 years.

Hafiz Mustafa 1864
Hocapasa Mahallesi Muradiye Caddesi No: 51, Sirkeci – Fatih – Istanbul, 34080 Sirkeci Eminönü / Istanbul
Tel : +90 (212) 527 66 54

http://www.hafizmustafa.com

Date Visited : Nov 2014

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