The Turkish Delight has a gelatinous texture of Ottoman origin. It is present today in all the countries which have been linked to the Ottoman Empire, this is why we also find Turkish Delights in Arabic countries as well.
The Turkish Delight available in different flavors: rose, cherry, almonds, pistachios, hazelnuts, mint, pomegranate, etc. but also in several forms (in small cubes, in squares, sticks…).
Turkish Delights’ history
The Turkish Delight was discovered over 230 years ago thanks to the cooks of a Turkish sultan. Actually, Sultan Abdulhamid’s desire was to surprise and satisfy all his mistresses. The Turkish Delight arrived in Constantinople in 1776 with the arrival of Bekir Efendi, an apprentice confectioner who became under the reign of Mahmoud II chief confectioner at Topkapi Palace.
Haci Bekir quickly became known for his revolutionary sweet creation, the Turkish Delight.
He opened his first shop in 1777 under the name of Ali Muhiddin Haci Bekir in the Grand Bazaar, district of central Istanbul. He then invented a treat that was easy to chew and swallow, different from other sweets. The soft and sticky side was called “Rahat Lokum”, that is to say “rest of the throat” in Turkish.
The first Ottoman Turkish Delights brand “Ali Muhiddin Haci Bekir” was created by Mehmed Muhiddin in 1893 which is still today the oldest and very high quality brand known for these sweet treats.
Finally, Haci Bekir died at 90. His son Mehmed Muhiddin takes over his title and the Italian artist Amedeo Prezioni in 1851 painted the famous stall Ali Muhiddin Haci Bekir (painting currently on display at the Louvre).
The Turkish Delight appeared in the West in the 19th century, but their history dates back several hundred years.
The Turkish Delight has become the oldest confectionery in the world and won awards on several occasions: silver in 1873 at the Universal Exhibition in Vienna, or in Brussels in 1897, 1906 in Nice, etc.
The Turkish Delight is sold in shops specialized in the field, they are open all year round. Sometimes they are very old, dating from the Ottoman Empire. You can also find the Turkish Delight on markets like the Grand Bazaar or the Spice Market.
Haci Bekir’s boutique is still open after more than 200 years, in Istanbul we can still buy quality Turkish Delight there, the locals love it and tourists come from all over the world to taste these marvels!
The quality will depend on the house or industrial production, old or not and where it is sold.
The Turkish Delight is being consumed in everyday life, we do not wait holidays for eating it. Indeed, the Turkish Delight is not only intended for tourists, but being heavily consumed by the locals.
It represents a good gift nowadays. The Turkish Delight is not very expensive (for the first prices) but everything will depend on the brand, the quality and the packaging of your choice. The price can, depending on the quality, be inexpensive or very expensive.
However, certain superior quality brands are selling Turkish Delights such as Ali Muhiddin Haci Bekir Lokumlari, Hafiz Mustafa Lokum.
Many other quality brands exist, such as Koska Lokum or Tugba. Feel free to taste, to enjoy according to your budget. Turkish Delights exist for everyone, each tourist can come back with a box of Turkish Delights!