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All About Turkish Delight

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What Is Turkish Delight?

Turkish Delight is a delicious sweet that is made of cornflour, flavourings and sugary syrup that is also sometimes stuffed with dried fruit, honey and nuts. It is also known as Lokum in Turkey, and it is believed that the word Lokum derives from the Arabic ‘rahat-al-hulkum’ meaning contentment of the throat. This sweet has a soft, jelly-like consistency, and is usually served in cubes that are powdered with icing sugar.

Turkish Delight can be bought loose or wrapped in fancy boxes that make excellent gifts. It comes in many delicious flavours, but the traditional rosewater flavour is still the most popular. Other popular flavours are pistachio, lemon, mint, and hazelnut. Turkish Delight is often served after a meal with the coffee, very much in the same way as after dinner mints, as the sweetness counteracts the bitter taste of the strong Turkish coffee. It is also eaten during the day and is served as a side dish with tea or coffee.

Making Turkish Delight

Although delicious, Turkish Delight is fairly simple to make and does not require any fancy ingredients. A typical Turkish Delight recipe will involve powdered gelatine, cornflour, icing sugar and whatever filling that you would like. The ingredients are all melted together in water, boiled, poured into a dish and left to set for twenty four hours. When you are sure that the sugary mixture has set, cut it into the traditional cubes and give it a dusting of icing sugar. Homemade Turkish Delight makes a really good gift for family or friends, or why not make some to serve with the coffee at a special dinner party?

History of Turkish Delight

Unsurprisingly, Turkish Delight originated in Turkey, where is still very much one of the most popular sweets eaten. This delicious sweet has been around since the fifteenth century, and there are several stories as to how Turkish Delight was originally invented. One of the stories is that there was once a Sultan in Turkey who had a very large harem.

The ladies of the harem were always squabbling and the Sultan was getting fed up with it, so he came up with an ingenious plan. He ordered his court confectioner to come up with a sweet that was so delicious that the ladies of his harem would stop their arguing and peace would reign throughout the palace. The Sultan’s plan worked admirably and the harem ladies gorged themselves on the wonderful new Turkish Delight and ceased their bickering.

Another story about the origins of Turkish Delight is that the sweet was created by a confectioner called Bekir Effendi. Bekir was from a small town in the mountains of Anatolia and moved to Istanbul to open up a confectionery shop in 1776. Bekir was also known as Haci Bekir after he had completed his hajj pilgrimage to Mecca. Bekir was a very creative sweet maker and one of the novelty sweets that he produced in his kitchen was Turkish Delight.

It is believed that this original Turkish Delight was based on an ancient Anatolian sweetmeat that was made from honey or grape syrup and mixed together with flour and water. Word spread about his amazing Turkish Delight all around Istanbul and purchasing pieces of Turkish Delight wrapped in a lace handkerchief became one of the fashionable things to do. Eventually the Sultan came to hear about the new sweet that Bekir had created and he liked it so much that he awarded Bekir a Medal of Honour and the Turkish Delight was soon being enjoyed throughout the royal court.

Bekir Effendi’s confectionery shop is still standing in Istanbul today and still selling its delicious Turkish Delight. Haci Bekir Confectionery is the oldest Turkish company still to be operating in its original location. The company has spread to become a worldwide enterprise and now has representative companies in the US, Great Britain, Japan, France, Egypt and South Africa.

Display of Turkish Delight

Display of Turkish Delight

Turkish Delight Goes Global

The term Turkish Delight was actually coined by a British traveller in the nineteenth century who was the first westerner to sample the confectionery and ship some home to the UK because he liked it so much. Turkish Delight soon became as popular in Europe and America as it was in Turkey and was enjoyed by some very famous people. The sticky sweet was a favourite of Pablo Picasso, and both Napoleon and Winston Churchill had a preference for Turkish Delight stuffed with pistachios.

It has also been adapted to being incorporated into chocolate bars. In the UK a slab of rosewater Turkish Delight is coated in milk chocolate to make Fry’s Turkish Delight. Fry’s Turkish Delight was first launched in 1914 when it was manufactured by J.S Fry and Sons. It is now made by Cadbury’s and has been immortalised by the advertising slogan ‘Full of Eastern Promise’. Cadbury’s also produce bars of milk chocolate covered rose Turkish Delight under the Cadbury’s Dairy Milk brand name. In the United States, Turkish Delight is the filler of the Big Turk chocolate bar.

Turkish Delight in Literature And On Stage

The most famous literary reference to Turkish Delight is in the fantasy children’s novel ‘The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe’ by CS Lewis. In the novel, the young Edmund Pevensie is seduced into betraying his brother and sisters by being fed magic Turkish Delight by the evil White Witch, which almost leads the kingdom of Narnia to being locked into its icy winter forever.

The sales of Turkish Delight rose considerably after the release of the film adaptation of ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’ in 2005. Turkish Delight is also the theme of the song ‘Rahadlakum’ from the Broadway Musical ‘Kismet’.

So if Turkish Delight is one of your favourite sweet treats, you should be able to buy it in a store near you. If not, there is a wide range of Turkish Delight that can be bought online. Or if you have a friend or family member who is travelling to Turkey, why not ask them to bring you some back from the country where the recipe was born?

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CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on July 21, 2012:

Glad you love Turkish Delight bottle jinn - the rose water and lemon is my favourite! Thanks for reading the hub and commenting

bottle jinn from Egypt on July 19, 2012:

I love turkish delight I brought some back from istanbul, i adore the furit flavored ones tasted like gumdrops. its majical! lol

CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on May 08, 2012:

Glad you enjoyed reading about Turkish Delight paxwill. That's the joy of home made recipes, you can alter the ingredients to suit your family's taste

CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on October 29, 2011:

Glad you enjoyed reading about Turkish Delight KoraleeP. I also think that Turkish Delight is delicious and love all the different flavours.

Koralee Phillips from Vancouver British Columbia Canada on October 28, 2011:

Great hub, I enjoy Turkish delights, very tasty and many different flavors.

CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on March 11, 2011:

The turkish delight does look yummy! Glad you enjoyed the hub Nicky

Nicky Smart from United Kingdom on March 03, 2011:

that looks sooo yummy great hub

CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on February 12, 2011:

Hi Huntgoddess, Turkish Delight is delicious, isn't it! Thanks for reading the hub and leaving a comment

Huntgoddess from Midwest U.S.A. on February 11, 2011:

Wow, thanks for this. I LOVE Turkish Delight.

It's delightful!!

CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on January 28, 2011:

You try looking for some turkish delight online jaja819?

jaja819 from Manila,Philippines on January 28, 2011:

yes dear.a friend from turkey sent me like 3 boxes and i really love it.i dont know if we have that here in my country i have tried looking but have not found anything.. :(

CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on January 27, 2011:

Glad that you like turkish delight, jaja819, I think that it is delicious too!

jaja819 from Manila,Philippines on January 27, 2011:

i love turkish delight very much

CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on July 05, 2010:

Glad that you enjoyed finding out about Turkish Delight, coc0preme. If you do ever see Turkish Delight for sale in the US, get some and give it a try. It is very moreish!

Candace Bacon from Far, far away on July 05, 2010:

Thank you so much for explaining what Turkish Delight is. I have always wondered about it since reading the Chronicles of Narnia. It is not very popular in America, so I had no clue. It makes sense that C.S. Lewis would reference it since he is from England and it is popular in Europe. Very informative hub!

CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on June 01, 2010:

Youngcurves19 - glad you enjoyed reading about Turkish Delight - sorry if it made you hungry!

beccas90 - Turkish Delight is very scrummy, but now that you are in the US, you can get it from Amazon - all the Turkish Delight on this Hub is available from Amazon in the US

beccas90 from New York on June 01, 2010:

Grew up in England adoring Turkish Delight but find it a challenge getting it in my area in U.S.

Youngcurves19 from Hawaii on May 31, 2010:

that looks sooo yummy great hub

CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on May 17, 2010:

Hope that your Turkish Delight works out well katiem2. Enjoy eating it and thanks for the great comment

Katie McMurray from Ohio on May 17, 2010:

This is a great new recipe and sweet treat I look forward to making with my duaghters they love to experiment and cook new things and knowing All About Turkish Delight has given me a great new to do! Peace :)

CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on April 03, 2010:

Glad you enjoyed reading about Turkish Delight, Green Lotus. Unfortunately, whenever I answer a comment in this Hub I get hungry!

Hillary from Atlanta, GA on April 03, 2010:

Oh how decadent! I do love the stuff and of course prefer the real deal which I can only purchase from my local Indian grocery store. Of course now I have some on-line sources :) Pistachio, lemon, mint, and hazelnut :) My mouth is watering. Thanks!

CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on March 28, 2010:

Glad you enjoyed reading about Turkish Delight BJBenson. Sorry you miss Turkish food - do you have a good Turkish Restaurant near you.

BJBenson from USA on March 27, 2010:

Ahh, I miss living in Turkey.Some of the best food I ever ate.

CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on March 18, 2010:

You should try the Turkish Delight, hypnodude! Nothing wrong with a sweet treat every now and then! Thanks for the rating and the stumble

Andrew from Italy on March 18, 2010:

Never tried them, but after reading this hub I'm ready for it. You're already know it but I dig a lot your style. :) Rated and stumbled. :)

CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on March 17, 2010:

Hi Hello, hello glad you enjoyed reading about Turkish Delight, even though you don't like eating it!

MPG Narratives, glad you liked the diversion into sweet treats! Thanks for leaving a great comment.

Maria Giunta from Sydney, Australia on March 17, 2010:

After all the hubs about dieting this was a sweet treat! thanks CMHypno!

Hello, hello, from London, UK on March 17, 2010:

It is not my taste but enjoyed your wonderful hub. Thank you.

CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on March 17, 2010:

Maxvon and Anath, I'm glad that you enjoyed reading about Turkish Delight and I'm sorry if I made you hungry!

myownworld, I always think its fascinating what little bits of info come up about historical figures when you are researching a topic

myownworld from uk on March 16, 2010:

Oh, I enjoy all Turkish sweets, this one as well as the Baklawa. I never knew Picasso and even Napoleon liked Turkish delight..!! Anyway, 'delightful' read...! ;)

Anath on March 16, 2010:

This hub makes me sooooo hungry... I love Turkish delight its so luxurious in the mouth...

Maxvon from U.K. on March 16, 2010:

Mmmmm.....nice, I love Turkish Delight, nice hub :)

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