© 2013 Diana

Altan Şekerleme, a sweet sweet Bayram

Author: Tuba Şatana


What is a Bayram without candies! My granny used to buy chocolates filled with mint, cherries and sorts, my memory seems to fade… But what I do remember is that me and my friends used to sneek in the house when she was out and fill our pockets with these colorful candies, chocolates with what was reserved for the guests… And so we had so many tummy aches! Sweet memories… When I saw Altan Şekerleme while searching for something else, years ago, the old shop reminded me of those days and I loved the place immediately. I saw myself with pony tails and wounded knees attacking the displays! Altan Şekerleme was descended from his grandfather to Abdullah Altan and now run by his son Hakan Altan, 4th generation. Though I have to say, whenever I visit Hakan Bey, his father is in the shop, working, changing displays, anything, who is almost 90, may he be blessed. Hakan Bey sees through every process, runs the shop and serves customers as well, on my last visit, he was wrapping boxes of candies for the Bayram. He is also in charge of making akide şekeri and lokum the old ways upstairs at this small establishment. He has huge copper cauldrons -I call them that- for akide and lokum, different marble counters for both. He uses local ingredients, and I tell you there is no other rose lokum better than his. Feels like chewing on a whole rose, a rose from Isparta, where they are the best, from where he imports his rose petals. Lokum is made of sugar and starch only, that consistency, that texture is a work of an artisan. Continuously strirring at the same direction, non stop about two hours, until it is right, then he pours the mixture in the trays, after they cool down, he flips the tray on the starched marble counter and cuts them…


I was born in 1972, to a Thessaloniki and Mardin compound family. Being raised by a refined grandmother and a true gourmet mother, not to forget my father’s heritage of the gorgeous southeast tastes of Turkey, I heritage the best of both cultures. While cooking with my granny, I learned all about fundamentals of cooking and kitchen while my mother, living on the coast of Aegean sea, garnished me with all the produce available and unavailable. A great way to grow up! I was lucky! Now for the curious minds… After my graduation from Bilkent University, I worked in kitchen and service department in many hotels as part of my training, starting my way through a successful career in Food and Beverage industry. I participated in pre-opening of an international chain hotel, an international restaurant as well as a university. I was one of the first female F&B managers in an international hotel chain. My first book Güneşin ve Ateşin Tadı, Gaziantep Mutfağı is out last year from YKY, me being the photographer. I am still working as a professional photographer, food story teller an an irrepressible traveller, after the perfect bite.

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