Turkish delight is a confection that consists of varied fruits (apricot, cherry, lemon, and apricot), nuts (walnuts, pistachios, and hazelnuts), spices (cinnamon, ginger, clove, and mint), and sugar that is bound together by gel and starch. Choices of flavors include, rosewater, orange, and lemon, among many others.
There are several variations on how the confection is made, but the presentation remains the same, which is being cut in small bite-sizes that are dusted with baker’s sugar to avoid sticking and other sweeteners.Turkish delight is known as lokum, a derivation from the Arabic word which means “morsel” or “mouth comfort.” It is called by many names in different countries, but it’s iconic name remains as Turkish delight.
Turkish Delight is a confection that dates back to more than 200 years. There are several legends on how this confection came about. First, would be its royal beginnings of a sultan wanting to please his many mistresses. He ordered the palace chefs to come up with a novel dessert, which brought about the creation of the Turkish delight. Thus, the confection came into being as a royal delicacy, which very soon became one of the most fancied dishes to have ever been concocted by the royal chefs.
Second, is that the delicacy was created by Bekir Effendi, who started his sweet shop in the late 1880’s. The confection was revolutionary at that time, as it was soft and chewy compared to the hard candies that was prevalent in the era. Soon, Turkish Delight became known for its piquant flavor and a popular gift amongst the rich and members of the royal family. The packaging comes with lace handkership and it soon became an iconic gift for lovers. The royal acceptance of Bekir Effendi’s confection, with royal courtesans lining up to buy from him, was a sign that he has arrived. Turkish Delight became a brand to reckon with up to this time. The confectionery shop still exists up today, and dishes out the best Turkish Delight that ever came out of the entire country, as claimed by many enthusiasts.
The 3rd tale, is that the Turkish Delight came into existence as a result of the rivalry amongst royal chefs. Since the chefs want to be in the good graces with the Sultan, they tried to beat each other by coming up with the most delectable dish. One chef mixed dried fruits, nuts, flavors, sugar and bound them together in cornstarch – hence, Turkish Delight was born.
C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia
Turkish Delight was given a boost when it was written about in a children’s book. In the fairy tale, the White Queen used the sweet concoctions to tempt Edmund into submission. He was told that there are a whole room full of Turkish Delights in the witch’s house. Though he was warned that she was dangerous, he still felt the urge to taste the sweet concoction again and again. Despite the Turkish Delight in the book being mentioned as magical, people still trooped to the delicatessen shops to taste the sweet confection, that drove Edmund to near perdition.