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Candied chestnuts!
Picking chestnuts is a painful and painstaking task; it takes truly nimble and experienced fingers to remove the chestnuts from its prickly shell. If you don't know what you're doing, you are guaranteed to do either yourself or the chestnut some serious damage! Nevertheless, the festive aroma of 'chestnuts roasting on an open fire' is worth any number of pricked fingers. Every winter, Istanbul's streets fill with roasted chestnut vendors hawking their fragrant wares: a clear sign that winter is well on its way.

From Bitola to Bursa
Roast chestnuts are the purest and most popular way to get a chestnut fix. Half the fun is removing the piping hot cracked shell to get to the meaty chestnut inside. But chestnuts come in a vast range of guises, including Bursa's famous candied chestnuts.
Candied chestnuts are synonymous with the Kafkas brand founded by Ali Sakir Tatveren, who came to Bursa from Bitola, Macedonia in 1930. Today, the company is managed by his grandson, Ali Tatveren. Although Ali Sakir Tatveren came from the Balkans, he named his company Kafkas (Caucasus) after the region where he did his military service.
What began as a small family company in the 1930s now boasts a 6,500 sqm factory with an annual production capacity of 3000 tons. Kafkas products are sold in 12 sales points in Bursa and a total of 95 sales points throughout Turkey and are exported to many countries including France, Germany, the UK, Greece, Dubai, Australia and Japan. In 2003, the world's largest supermarket chain, E. Leclerc, began to stock Kafkas products. In addition, Kafkas has exported jam to ethnic markets in the US for some 20 years.

A light and delicious gift
The process of manufacturing candied chestnuts consists of several stages. First, the chestnuts are measured and separated according to size. Next, they are shelled, either by steam or by flame. Finally, the chestnuts are flash frozen and placed in storage.
Kafkas has recently begun to produce ''marrons glacés'', chestnuts preserved in sweet syrup-a favourite with French gourmets. Marrons glacés are a very popular New Year's gift in France. While candied chestnuts and chestnut based products made up 75% of Kafkas' product range, Kafkas also manufactures other treats. In particular, Kafkas is known for its jams and marmalades. Candied chestnuts or a bottle of Kafkas jam make an ideal Christmas or New Year present for you and your loved ones.

Gate To Turkey is published by Dogan Burda Magazine Publishing and Marketing S.A. Reproduction in whole or in part of any material in this publication without prior written permission from Dogan Burda Magazine Publishing and Marketing S.A. is expressly prohibited.