Sometimes called fairy floss, string havla or Turkish cotton candy, pişmaniye is an ancient Turkish sweet that dates back to the 15th century. A similar texture to cotton candy, this ‘wool-like’ candy is light and fluffy with a slightly sweet, buttery and nutty taste.
How it’s Made
First, sugar syrup is boiled and melted and pulled and stretched like taffy, stretching it and folding it over and over again, and shaped into a ring. Then, a mixture of lightly-browned flour roasted in butter is added to the ring – once again being continually stretched and pulled into very fine threads. The strands are then gathered into bite-sized ‘balls’ and boxed like candy.
Typically sold plain, sometimes flavored with vanilla or cocoa powder, or topped with pistachios.
Cotton candy around the world differs in ingredients and production around the world. For example, Dragon’s Beard from China or Paşmak from Iran. The word ‘Paşmak’ in Persian means ‘wool-like’ resembling sheep’s wool. Turkey’s pişmaniye bears some resemblance to paşmak, hence where it’s name ‘pişmaniye’ is derived from.
Addictive of course, but be careful as you try yo get these strands into your mouth before the ‘ball’ falls apart, it’s difficult to eat without getting it everywhere! Just as sticky as cotton candy, your fingers and lips will be covered afterwards.
Today it’s not a popular treat and not readily available throughout the city, but can usually be found at souvenir shops.