Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Istanbul: One Sweet Taste of History!

Our four nights in Istanbul came no where near satiating our sensory experiences. Although we made a valiant attempt. Too many sights, sounds, smells and tastes will simply have to wait until ‘next time’!

On our quest to ‘see everything’ we logged 9.5 miles on our pedometer our first day in town and agreed that we had earned a visit to the popular confectionery  “Hafiz Mustafa 1864” just off Taksim Square.


At the time, we didn’t know anything about the place other than it tempted with confectionery treats that made your mouth water just looking at them. The photo below is only one small section of one of the many displays:

From a history page in the menu, we learned that this candy store got its start 150 years ago during the early years of Sultan Abdulaziz’s reign of the Ottoman Empire.


Founder Ismail Hakke Zade came to Istanbul to be a money lender. He began making a candy called, “akide” a type of rock candy in the basement of his shop.  It wasn’t long before his son Hafiz Mustafa came up with another creation, ‘pogaca’ – palm-sized buns served with or without filling. The two items were hits and the rest, as they say, is history.


Hafiz took over the business and by the early 1900’s had won 11 European medals for confectionery creations. Over the years the location has been renovated and updated but still has a wonderful historic feel to it. During our brief visit we watched the tables pictured below fill completely and lines three and four people deep were continuous at the take-away counters.

The menu itself was a treat - a small volume complete with photos and descriptions of candies, cakes, pastries, teas, and coffees. Its cover features the Hafiz Mustafa logo with the word, “Istanbul” written in Turkish.


So, in what did we indulge? We had a ‘filter coffee’ (meaning regular coffee) and a cappuccino and. . .


This is chocolate mousse with sponge cake at the bottom. The sprinkles on top are chocolate, coconut and pistachio nuts. The picture doesn’t show the size of this serving - it was a bowl, not a dish – it was huge and easily shared by two.

If you find yourself in Istanbul, be sure to visit this ‘historic site’ for one sweet taste of history! For hours, menus, location and time visit their web site: www.hafizmustafa.com  We are linking up today with Inside Journey’s Foodie Tuesday.


  1. Hello Jackie and Joel:

    Istanbul is very much somewhere we wish to visit and now, having read this post, even more so. What a fabulous looking 'shop', if that is the right word for it, and one which is clearly very popular with, we imagine, both local people and tourists. Your chocolate mousse looks positively delicious as we are sure that it was. But with such a selection, how difficult to choose.

    1. Jane and Lance, We were overwhelmed by a home repair project this week and I didn't get a chance to respond to you nice comment. Istanbul is an amazing place; overwhelming at first glance but when consumed a 'bite' at a time is absolutely charming. You must go see for yourselves!

  2. Wow, how often can you say you had chocolate mousse in a 150 year old candy store, Jackie? They seem to have a huge selection of treats. Do you know if it's still owned by the same family? This was a great find.
    One of my friends is on her way to Istanbul as I write, I wonder if this place is on her itinerary.
    Thanks for bringing us this sweet taste of history for FoodieTuesday!

    1. Oh I hope your friend does happen upon this place Marcia. We were telling our next-door-neighbors about this upcoming blog post and I couldn't remember the name so I said, "It has been there 150 years." to which Deniz replied, with a laugh, "Jackie, many stores in Istanbul have been there 150 years." Put it all in perspective.

  3. Oh my! I loved taking photos of the pastry shops when we were in Istanbul!

    1. I Jackie, thanks for the visit and sorry I am so slow in responding. Glad to hear the subject matter appeals to all Jackie's - as I couldn't resist taking photos of nearly every shop we passed! See you soon and until then, happy and safe travels!

  4. A lot of delicious food there...

    1. The proverbial 'kid in the candy store' came out in each of us!

  5. Great photo series, Jackie. You've just given me yet one more reason to want to visit Istanbul!

    1. Oh yes, Andrew. The food is certainly high on our list of 'reasons to visit Istanbul'! Thanks for your visit and taking the time to comment.


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