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Istanbeautiful

By Necee Regis
Globe Correspondent / September 6, 2009

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ISTANBUL - An impulsive decision to leap on a departing ferry led us to the Kadikoy neighborhood in Istanbul, on the Asian side of town. Aimless meandering and sheer luck led us to Cafer Erol. Oh, happy day. The storefront bakery and confectionery in this bustling commercial walking district was stacked with metal trays holding an eye-popping array of sweets. The fact that we couldn’t identify any of them, or read Turkish, didn’t deter us from entering.

Inside, the sights and smells made us feel like, well, kids in a candy shop.

Contemporary chandeliers illuminated polished glass cases filled with more goodies. We recognized Turkish baklava, made with bright green pistachios; crispy fried cruller-like donuts glazed with honey (tulumbas); sexy, plump buns pierced with a single pistachio; and rows of cookies with nuts, powdered sugar, and chocolate.

Atop the cases, tall glass cylinders sporting gold pointed caps held a rainbow of colored candy balls. Other cases offered candied fruits, halvas, Turkish delights, chocolates, and jam. First we drooled. Then we pointed at our pleasures. We consumed the sticky-sweet tulumbas on the street outside the shop, and saved the baklava.

The ferry ride home was sweet, indeed.

Cafer Erol, Yasa Cad. No.21, Kadikoy, Istanbul, 011-90-0216-337-1103, www.sekercicafererol .com.

NECEE REGIS

Istanbul (Necee Regis for the Boston Globe)