One of the most intriguing facets of Turkish culture is the dedication to stunning presentation alongside a perfected foundation. This trait is eloquently showcased at Istanbul’s most famous baklava emporium, Karaköy Güllüoğlu. Trays of meticulously crafted pastries seduce customers at this bakery established in 1949 in the Karaköy district of Istanbul, by a family that has been honing exemplary baklava in Gaziantep, Turkey since the 1800’s.
This Turkish sanctuary of multi layered wonders, is known by locals for uncompromising dedication to tradition and quality which oozes from the depths of each morsel.
We were lovingly guided to Karaköy Güllüoğlu by Turkish gastronomy expert, consultant and writer, Hülya Ekşigil on Context Travel’s Beyond Baklava Tour. Hülya’s expertise and organic streaming of relevant information, storytelling, and joy flowed effortlessly, adding exponential value to our explorations. Insider tips, hidden treasures and historic tidbits poured forth, keeping us spellbound as we savored our way through a tasting walk that covered much more than the title suggested.
Our journey went far beyond baklava and deep into the heart of smooth milk puddings, gooey Turkish delight, thick fruit jams, almond paste candies, Turkish sesame desserts, to a tiny hole-in-the-wall coffee shop that roasts their own beans and lays claim to the best cup of Turkish coffee in Istanbul. We traversed fascinating, funky, and lively old neighborhoods where historic sweet shops, artisanal bakeries and hip cafes abound.
Tucked between organic markets and artist studios we explored local cheese shops, traditional bakeries, and small restaurants, sampling unique cheeses, fresh baked breads, and thick rice flour puddings made with chicken. We learned about the history and significance of these diverse culinary gems, and the Ottoman Empire’s mixing of cultures to create a distinct and significant cuisine.
At our last stop we savored layers of buttery filo, chopped pistachios and a perfect balance of honey while reflecting on the enjoyment of the day. It was difficult to tear away from our little group as Hülya continued to fascinate to the end with animated tales of Turkey, the owners of Güllüoğlu and Istanbul’s growth and transformation over the decades.
We cannot overemphasize the value of a passionate and knowledgeable guide in a new city. We feel as guests with limited time abroad, we now have a basic understanding of the Turkish people, cuisine and culture that would have taken months if not years to gain on our own. Thank you to Hülya Ekşigil, Context Travel, Karaköy Güllüoğlu and an abundance of small shops and businesses that granted us an overwhelmingly hospitable and luscious peek into the heart of Istanbul. We have fallen deeply in love with Turkey’s culture and cuisine and look forward to returning at the earliest possible opportunity to delve deeper into your warm, creative and inspired soul.
Karaköy Güllüoğlu Factory and HQ : Karaköy, Mumhane Cad. No: 171 34425 İstanbul / Türkiye T: +90 212 249 96 80 – F: +90 212 244 71 17
Karaköy Güllüoğlu Shop:Karaköy, Rıhtım Cad. Katlı Otopark Altı No: 3-4 İstanbul / Türkiye T: +90 212 293 09 10 E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Context Travel offers intimate (six participants or less), local expert led walking seminars in some of the worlds most stunning cultural capitals of Europe, Asia, Australia, North and South America .