Appears in

Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

  • About

Turkey has been a melting pot of peoples and cultures for thousands of years, from the first farmers of the Neolithic Age to the Hittites, Lydians, and Byzantines. Turkish people from Iran and Central Asia arrived in large numbers after the Iranian Seljuks, a Turkish dynasty, spawned the Anatolian Seljuk state in 1077. The Seljuks were followed by centuries of Ottoman rule (1299–1922), when a sophisticated cuisine evolved that exerted widespread influence across western Asia and eastern Europe. The diversity of Turkish sweets and desserts reflects both the varied roots of the cuisine, ranging from Central Asia and Persia to the Middle East and the Balkans, and the innovative character of Ottoman cuisine. Particularly from the fifteenth century onward, the palace and upper echelons of society could afford fine ingredients and skilled cooks to prepare dishes for those who appreciated good food.