(above photo Kapat – pistachio paste © Şekerci Cafer Erol)
Şekerci (Confectioner) Cafer Erol
(90) 216 337 1103 Yasa Cad. No:19
Kadiköy, Istanbul, Turkey
7:30am 10:00 pm – daily
Yonca Erol is foremost a charming woman; she is also a member of the Cafer Erol family, and the manager of the Şekerci Cafer Erol. Founded in 1807 this magnificent confectioner store as expanded to five branches around Istanbul. Yonca was more then happy to chat and lecture us on the different techniques used in the production of their wonderful sweets. After a thorough tasting and aquiring a variety of gifts for friends and family – Yonca walked us all the way to Ciya, her favorite food spot in Kadiköy (but more about that on a different post :).
(above photo mix akide candy © Şekerci Cafer Erol)
Cafer Erol is lined with widow refrigerators holding delectable looing chocolates, filo pastries, halvas, honey cakes, marzipan and a 100 other sweets. On top of beautiful large glass jars with brass tops, are filled Ottoman sweets.
One such is the “Akide” pulled sugar. The Erol’s are flavored with honey, real fruit extracts, fresh spices and nuts. To the untrained eye the might seem like ordinary candy flavored with synthetic components and lots of unhealthy corn syrup; but these confections are exceptional due to technique and the quality of the fresh ingredients.
Our favorite Akide was the bergamot. This candy is made according to the old traditions – cooking the sugar in copper cauldrons over wood fire to a specific temperatures. Once it starts cooling and before it fully hardens the flavors are added, and the sugar is pulled. This is what gives the candy it’s outer shine. We brought some home in some of the fantastical gift containers on offer; a fez hat and sultans’ turbans as well as copper bowls
(above photo Turkish delight with hazelnut © Şekerci Cafer Erol)
Turkish Delight, or Lokum, is a sweet dating from the 17th century. It was initially made with honey, molasses and flour. Through times eventual erosion, the basic components changed to refined sugar and starch; to help it acquire a silkier texture. Cafer Erol produces about thirty different flavors of this national sweet.
Be sure to swing by, say hello to Yonca and to give a little gift to your sweet tooth!