There are many things I love about Turkey, most of all the food. With this post I hope to kick off a semi-regular series on the foods I love to eat here; the good stuff.
Acıbadem (ah-juh-bah-DEM) is an almond cookie, or almond biscuit, sold at bakeries everywhere throughout Istanbul. I don’t think there’s a bakery that does not sell them.
At my favorite bakery, down the block from our apartment, they cost 4 lira (less than $2). I’m at the bakery so often, that when I went in the other day to buy some pastries the proprietor asked me where I’d been, because it had been over a week since I’d been in there. I answered him that I’d been in Kusadasi the week before. He proceeded to give me a sample of a wonderful pastry with olive paste inside and then I bought a whole bunch of sweet pastries.
Here is what acıbadem looks like.
Acıbadem are large, with two sides, and a roasted almond embedded in each side. They’re crisp on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. The taste is sweet and almondy. They go very well, like all Turkish pastries, with coffee or tea.
You can take them apart, which is what I often do. Usually, I give one half to my wife and then I take the other half.
I look at this perfect piece of pastry and think, in the U.S. we would say, “Yeah, that giant almond cookie is pretty good, but we could make it better by putting a thick layer of chocolate or vanilla frosting in the middle. And calling them Ginormous Almond Cookie Sandwiches (GACS).”
I wouldn’t change a thing about them.
This is not to say that Turks don’t have a sweet tooth. They have one that rivals Americans as you’ll see in future posts.