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Turkish Delight: the sweetest sweet since 1777

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Turkish delight is not just the sweetest sweet, a delightful dessert but also a trademark of Turkey. It’s one of my favourite Turkish culinary delights! These (usually) square pieces of jelly consistence are served with coffee or tea at any time of the day. Lokum can be found in a great variety of flavours: whether we talk about nuts, pistachio, different kinds of fruits or flowers and plants like rose or lavender.

According to Turkey Travel Planner  “The story of the creation of Turkish Delight (lokum) begins in the late 1700s, when Ali Muhiddin Hacı Bekir, confectioner to the imperial court in Istanbul, listens to the sultan rant: “Hard candy! I’m tired of hard candy!” the sultan growled as he cracked a tooth on yet another  sour ball. “I demand soft candy!””

Hacı Bekir combined sugar and starch to please the sultan and to create his famous lokum. According to Victoria Combe the original name of Turkish delight was rahat lokum, which comes from the Arabic rahat-ul hulkum meaning “soothe or heal the throat”. The English version, “Turkish Delight”, was attributed by an English traveller from the 18th Century, who bought lokum for his relatives, and couldn’t pronounce its name in Arabic.

Turkish delight is “impossible to be reproduced in any other country, although efforts to imitate the texture of Turkish lokums have conduced to the invention of jelly candies in the western world”, informs the official website of the Hacı Bekir company owned by the descendants of the lokum’s inventor. Therefore if you want to taste the original lokum you should buy it from the original shop in Istanbul or order from their online shop.

Ads from the company’s early years [2]:

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Text of first ad: Taste of Bayram! Worldwide fame.Second ad: There is always a place for Hacı Bekir sweets in your travelling bag.

Nowadays Turkish delight is used in many recipes and it has inspired many cosmetic companies, as you can see below:

Would you like to taste these Turkish delight cupcakes [3] or cheesecakes [4] ? I would definitely have a bite…or two! Who am I fooling? I would stop only after finishing them.

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Have you thought about having a Turkish delightful shower? Then maybe you are looking for the shower smoothie called Turkish delight [5]

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What about using a lip balm as sweet as Turkish delight [6]?

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Or perfume [7]?

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I haven’t tried these products yet, but I’m tempted to give them a try. Meanwhile I will delight myself with lokum, looking forward for my next travel to Turkey, in order to get more and more…and more Turkish delight!

Image sources:[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]

Bibliography:

  1. Turkish Delight (Lokum), “Turkey Travel Planner”
  2. Victoria Combe, Sweet Little History, “The Telegraph”
  3. History, “Hacı Bekır”

 

 

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Welcome to my bazaar! Enjoy Turkish delight!

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There are no such things in life as coincidences or innocent events. Even if we try to avoid entering some doors, we will end up in the same, initially rejected rooms, embraced by our destinies. The foggy fate is watching our steps and directing them towards the accomplishment of the purposes of our lives. Which is the purpose of my life? What is my mission? I don’t know yet. But I know where I should look for it. In the bazaar… It’s not an option, it’s a fact.

I have been unconsciously attracted to the so-called Orient since my early years. My favourite cartoons were “Aladdin and the Magic Lamp”. Furthermore, in the 5th grade my “most successful” descriptive essay, published in the school’s newspaper, was depicting olive trees, dunes, oasis, mosques, spicy fragrances and endless summers, inspired by the “1001 Arabian Nights”. My fascination has never faded away… Long after, it burst into my life by mistake, a fortunate mistake. Even though I dreamt to become a psychologist, I ended up (still don’t know how) studying international relations. In my second year of university I participated in the European Parliament Simulation, working on the issue of human rights violation in Iran. That was the moment when I became aware of the stereotypical representation of the Muslim societies and decided to write my Bachelor thesis about westernization and orientalism, trying to debunk some Western myths related to the majority Muslim countries and to Islamic culture. Turkey was one of the case studies of my thesis, and a year after it turned into my temporary home, as I was undertaking an internship in Turkey.

Who am I? I’m a Romanian citizen, studying in Italy about Turkish politics… determined to learn Turkish and to understand Turkish realities. I’ve created this blog in order to motivate my “inner Turk” with sugar and words. With lokum (Turkish delight) and Turkish language. Why Turkish Delight Bazaar? Because this blog is a bazaar, where you can find diverse posts related to Turkey, from Turkish language lessons, issues, study materials, short translations  to cultural “sweets”, curiosities, facts, news… Because I’m delighted to learn Turkish and about Turkey… Because I love Turkish delight, and even more, a few years ago a very kind Turkish woman called me lokum.

Before starting, I must add that I’m neither a Turkish teacher nor an expert in linguistic, consequently this is not a professional language blog… I’m still learning Turkish and I intend to transform this blog into a personalized learning tool. Therefore, Turkish Delight Bazaar will provide you learning methods sweetened with cultural Turkish lokum. Learning and sharing. Learning and enjoying. Learning and delight. Turkish delight. A colorful bazaar with countless types of Turkish delights.

Image source: http://cafefernando.com/lokum/