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Syrian sweets becoming an international sensation

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Sarah Birke

(Read caption) Precariously balanced stacks of Syrian sweets.

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

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.

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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.

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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.