From Syria with Baklava

When best friends Ahmed and Rashed moved to Istanbul to escape the war in Syria, they never thought it would mark only the middle of their journey. But now, in the face of modern history’s worst humanitarian crisis, the employees of a well-known chain of sweet shops find themselves asking an existential question: Can the sweet tastes of Syria be recreated in Europe?

This is the story of an epic journey, of food and family, and the sweet shop, Salloura. Ultimately, it’s a story about what we leave behind and what we carry with us to become our new selves.

When we began to follow the story of Salloura, Ahmed and Rashed, we had no idea just how winding and unpredictable the tale would be. Here, you can listen to the story, in which we take you back 150 years to the start of the famous sweet shop.

The tale ends, for now, in Germany, where its workers and patrons have been forced to rebuild their lives. We also invite you to more intimately follow this incredible odyssey chapter by chapter, in real time— and to taste the flavors we’ve found along the way. Each chapter follows Salloura’s saga, depicting the shop and its people as they chase the memory of a time and place that no longer exists. With each new leg of the journey, we’ll include a key recipe to a dish described in or connected to the story, offering you the chance to taste Syria right from your home.

This series was co-reported and co-authored with Lauren Bohn, The GroundTruth Project’s Middle East Correspondent. I was able to report From Syria with Baklava thanks to The GroundTruth Project‘s Middle East Fellowship in honor of slain journalist, James Foley. The series originally appeared on Culinary Backstreets.