Knafeh from Turkey's Antakya gets EU protected status

Knafeh from Turkey's Antakya gets EU protected status
Antakya knafeh has been granted protection of designation of origin status by the EU.
2 min read
17 March, 2023
Knafeh is a dessert enjoyed across the Middle East [Getty]

Antakya's famed knafeh has been given protected geographical indication [PGI] status by the EU, the latest Turkish dessert to be granted the prestigious culinary award.

The sweet cheese dish must now be manufactured in the region of southern Turkey of Antakya, recently devastated by 6 February earthquakes, to carry the name 'Antakya Künefesi'.

Antakya Chamber of Commerce and Industry made the PGI application in March 2019 before being approved this week by the EU, Hurriyet Daily News reported.

"Antakya Künefesi has been registered in the EU as a geographical indication [PGI] with the application of the Antakya Chamber of Commerce and Industry," said the Directorate of EU Affairs on social media.

Knafeh usually includes cheese or cream, syrup, and a pastry or noodle topping, although there are other variations in Greece, Turkey, the Balkans, and the Middle East. 

Nablus produces one famous version of the dish, 'Knafeh Nabulsiyeh' which is renowned across the Arab world and features local cheese, crushed pistachio, and a pastry tinged with orange food colouring.

The Antakya alternative includes syrup-soaked noodles and unsalted cheese, typically cooked over a coal fire.

There is fierce, if jovial, rivalry between Antakya and Nablus, Palestine over who makes the best knafeh and where the dish originates from.

Turkey has eight other food products with protected status including Antep baklava, Aydın fig, Malatya apricot, Aydın chestnut, Milas olive oil, Bayramiç beyazı nectarine, Taşköprü garlic, and Giresun hazelnut, and has applied for 42 other items to be given the European award, according to Hurriyet.