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Syrian sweets becoming an international sensation

Syrian sweets are becoming so popular that they rival Turkish baklava and bring in $60 million in revenue from sales abroad.

By Sarah BirkeCorrespondent / September 30, 2010

Precariously balanced stacks of Syrian sweets.

Sarah Birke

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Damascus, Syria

• A local, slice-of-life story from a Monitor correspondent.

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During Eid, the celebration that marks the end of Ramadan, the average Syrian family consumes 13 pounds of sweets at a cost of $150 to $200, reports Sana, Syria’s official news agency.

With more than 300 kinds to choose from, Damascene Arabic sweets have long been popular at home and across the Arab world, rivaling Turkish baklava.

Trays of date, dried apricot, pistachio, and cream-filled morsels never fail to delight. In Midan, with its street of popular restaurants, sweet-shop owners try to outdo competitors by creating displays of unusually shaped stacks of sugary treats.

A growing demand for these local confections abroad is boosting the economy. Syrian sweets sent as far as the United States, Brazil, and the Netherlands, result in $60 million in revenues, says Sana.

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