Before the coronavirus swept the world, Turkish baklava was one of the most sought-after desserts in the domestic market, as well as a favorite of tourists coming to our country.
The pandemic hit different parts of the world first. Countries closed their doors. ‘How will the process be in Turkey?’ While thinking, the first case was seen in March 2019. Those who read these lines know the rest very well… Constantly increasing cases, unfortunately deaths and a period called the ‘new normal’.
In the period we are talking about, while millions were confined to their homes, some areas naturally went through very painful processes. There was a ‘doomsday scenario’ in different sectors, especially in food and beverage, and baklava producers had a very difficult time at that time.
[Şerbetli tatlılar sadece bayram döneminde değil yıl boyunca ülkemizde sıkça tüketiliyor. Foto: AA]
The bad days are gone
We made various news with Mehmet Yıldırım, President of Baklava and Dessert Producers Association (BAKTAD), in different time periods of the pandemic period. At the beginning of the epidemic, their first goal was that no one in the industry would ‘flag bankruptcy’, and they succeeded to a great extent.
When we talked during the Ramadan Feast, he mentioned that the sector was active, and that they could take a breather with the partial opening in that process.
We called BAKTAD President Yıldırım once again on the occasion of the Eid al-Adha, because perhaps for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, Turkey would experience the ‘most normal’ and long-term holiday. Vaccinations have increased, the rules have been stretched, and reservations, especially in holiday destinations, were completely full before the holiday.
When he picked up the phone, the first thing he said was ‘The bad days are behind’, Mehmet Yıldırım and he started to tell how the industry spent this holiday…
[BAKTAD Başkanı Mehmet Yıldırım. Foto: AA]
We preferred the holiday instead of going to the guest.
According to Yıldırım, who said that the record of the pandemic period was broken in the production and consumption of baklava this holiday, hotels came to the fore in this process.
Reminding that Turkish people still care about their holiday visits and taking a box of baklava to the feast is one of these traditions, Yıldırım said that the relatively normal holiday after a long time changed this habit.
According to Yıldırım, people have dreamed of such a period for a very long time. When the conditions were right, he preferred to spend the holiday in the holiday regions.
The highest demand came from hotels
We wonder what this situation means for the sector… Mehmet Yıldırım starts to answer by giving an example from Istanbul and said, “The big city is empty… The situation is the same not only for Istanbul but also for other big cities. People flocked to holiday destinations in the Aegean and the Mediterranean. You know, the regions we are talking about are also the areas where the hotels are very busy. Hotels are full. Therefore, there was a serious demand for baklava and other desserts from that side. We are talking about a consumption between 2 thousand 500 tons and 3 thousand tons per day. The key to the production record broken during the pandemic period was in the hotels.
[Baklava başta olmak üzere şerbetli tatlılar uzun tatil dönemlerinde özellikle yazlık bölgelerde daha çok tüketiliyor. Foto: AA]
We would break the record in every way
BAKTAD President Yıldırım talks about another interesting detail here. Although the occupancy of the hotels is the most important factor, he says, “If the holiday did not start early, we would have broken the record. This time, the key to the record would not be in the hotels, but in Istanbul. But the record would still be broken.” We ask, Mehmet Yıldırım explains:
“Because people have gone through very difficult processes for almost 18 months. We are back to the new normal. As a nation, we like to eat good food and sit with our friends in a social environment. Dessert is one of the favorites of these meetings. Regardless of the meal, you will see dessert on almost every table afterwards.
Baklava and other desserts remind people of the pre-pandemic period… In this period when we are normalized again, there is another side to choosing baklava. Hopefully, the effect of the pandemic will decrease day by day and neither our country nor any other region of the world will experience this process again.