The ice cream peddler in his Ottoman-esque costume of golden vest and red fez, teased the customers with the metal pole he used for stirring the Turkish ice cream. The ice cream was so stretchy, it dangled on the pole without falling off, much to the amusement of passersby. He further taunts by offering the cone and grabbing it back, tossing it in the air, inverting the cone just when you think the order is ready. Occasionally, you are party to the drama by getting a lick off the ice cream. We watched in bewilderment, despite having witnessed it nearly everyday of our 5 day stay in Istanbul. On this day though, we had decided to put our affair with the pistachio ice cream with hazelnut aside and find our way to Karaoke gulluoglu, a baklava parlour. As we navigated through the narrow by lanes for a good hour, it was tough not to pull up a chair and sit in any one of the countless baklava shops in the same area. But we resisted for the promise of having the best baklava with the best kaymak (rich Turkish buffalo clotted cream) in town.
Once we reached, we realised looking around at other tables that baklava here wasn't just a pastry on go or a dessert to have a slice off. It was to be devoured over golden hued warm tea, over conservation that lasted for hours, with friends that schemed of how is the perfect way to go about a relationship. So despite, having stuffed ourselves with the best kind of freshly grilled mackerel sandwich just outside of the shop, we decided to order one of each type of baklava we could lay eyes on.