Baklava is one of those foods that has a steep history and one where many countries claim ownership. It is familiar in the cultures of Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Iran, Armenia, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, Egypt, and North Africa. If one considers that for four hundred years from 16th Century on the kitchens of Imperial Ottoman Palace in Istanbul became the ultimate culinary hub of the empire covering all of the lands mentioned above, the baklava certainly reached maturity in Istanbul, Turkey.
The bakers, cooks and pastry chefs who worked in the Ottoman palaces, had to be recruited from various ethnic groups that composed the empire. These chefs contributed enormously to the interaction and to the refinement of the art of cooking and pastry-making of an Empire that covered a vast region. From 18th century on, there was nothing much to add to baklava’s already perfect taste and texture.
In the modern age, baklava finds its form and grace in the south-eastern region of Turkey called Gaziantep. I am not sure why they excel in this culinary art form here, but the baklava is heavenly. So if you come across a baklava-maker from Gaziantep, you are in for a treat.