One night in Turkey earlier this year we stopped by a cafe for salep, but ended up with a surprise; when the waiter brought out the cups, they were garnished with a little green candy-like thing.

The candy turned out to be “antep fıstığı ezmesi,” which (apparently) translates to “pistachio butter.”


Antep fıstığı ezmesi was unlike anything else I’ve ever tried. The texture was somewhere between peanut butter and dense bread, and it had a mild sweetness with just the faintest hint of sour. Here is a video of a man making it.

After one sample, I was hooked.

We spent the next several days on the lookout for this treat, but surprisingly didn’t actually see it in many places. There were some vendors selling it at stalls in the Grand Bazaar, but over all in the city it was far less ubiquitous than Turkish delight and baklava.


It was also pricy. A few times we managed to find it individually packaged in grocery stores, but each piece cost three or four lira — about a dollar or more.

All of which is to say that it takes some effort to find and try pistachio butter. However, of all the sweets I tried in Turkey, this was my favorite; if you’re ever there, don’t leave without trying it.

— Jim Dalrymple II


Written by Jim Dalrymple II

Urbanism and travel writer. Also a journalist covering the news.

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