The Turkish delight and of course, the Turkish coffee, are some of the things that pop into our mind when we think about Turkey. They are also a great gift/souvenir from this ancient land with its gorgeous beaches and historical places. The Turkish delight aka "lokum" in Turkish, is a confection made out of a gel of a starch and sugar. There are various types of lokum but the main shape is a cube usually covered with coconut flakes, pistachio, rose petals, icing sugar and many more. The word lokum comes from Arabic rāḥat al-ḥulqūm, which means "comfort for the throat". As mentioned above there are various types of lokum; my favorite though are the ones that look and taste like marshmallow. (So it makes sense that it comforts your throat!).
Lifehack: if you have a sore throat, eating a marshmallow helps soothing it (I love science)! The common flavors are rose, (since Turkey is famous for its amazing-smelly roses), lemon, bitter orange, mastic, bergamot, cinnamon, pomegranate, saffron, chocolate and mint, but there are lots of other flavors as well.
Basically, the Turkish delight is a bite of chopped walnuts, pistachios, hazelnuts, etc, covered with the gel of starch and rolled in coconut flakes, icing sugar, rose petals or more pistachio!
The Turkish coffee is often served along with a Turkish delight mainly for taste, but it is also known that the doctors recommend eating Turkish delight since it has various health benefits. It removes the toxins out of the body, it heals acne and scars, as well as it strengthens and protects the teeth. It is known that the Turkish coffee's history dates back to the 13th century, however the Turkish delight dates back to the "16th-century Anatolia". The first lokum shop opened in Istanbul in the 18th century; it's called Hacıbekir and in fact it is still in business! It was "accidentally" discovered by an English traveler and started to be produced and exported in Europe by the 19th century.
It sure has a tradition to actually make a Turkish delight but you can also make it at home! In the Ottoman times it was made with honey and molasses, but nowadays it is made from glucose. The main ingredients are water, sugar, starch, citric acid, dried nuts and fruits and of course powdered sugar. By putting apart the dried fruits and the powdered sugar, you have to mix the other ingredients, cook for two hours and later on let them rest for a day. The next day, it should be ready to serve, of course after being diced and covered with powdered sugar/coconut flakes/dried nuts etc. Lokum should be tender and flexible, which means it should expand like a sponge and return to its original form without sticking to your hands. Well, if it sounds like a rocket science to you, here are the most popular shops where you can buy this little bite of heaven!
Hacıbekir is the first Turkish delight shop, and it is located in Beyoğlu, İstanbul. Their most popular flavors are Turkish pistachio, rose, lemon, pomegranate, coffee and other mouth watering flavours. They are famous for their history (obviously) and their traditional process of making the finest Turkish delights all over the world! They opened the shop in 1777 and it is still remaining authentic. If you want to taste the best one, you better start from here!
Ali Galip Efendi came to İzmir from Bursa in 1884 and got involved in the confectionary art and trade. In 1901 with an experience of 17 years, he laid the foundations of “Şekerci Ali Galip” that lasted more than hundred years. If you are in İzmir, you should definitely check it out!
Udi Cemil Bey was born in 1867 in Şehzadebaşı. He was also known as " Şekerci, Bestekar, Hafız and Udi". He opened his first shop in İstanbul while he was still studying music! When he was 20 years old, he became one of the most famous udies of İstanbul and created many compositions. If you are in the Anatolian side of İstanbul, you better go and check his shop out!
Safranbolu in Turkey is an historical city which is famous for its saffron. Safrantat Lokumcusu is located in Safranbolu, which is specifically popular for its saffron delights! Safrantat demonstrates quality, unique taste and special flavor options of the traditional Turkish delight!
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