Turkish Delight is the best-loved confection of the eastern Mediterranean. While it’s most closely associated with Turkey, it’s equally popular in Greece, Armenia, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and other countries in that region. The “locals” call it “Locoum” or “Rahat Locoum” or “Loukoumi”. It was the British who came up with the term “Turkish Delight” to improve its marketability in English-speaking countries.
An old Turkish aphorism tells one to “eat sweetly and speak sweetly”. Sweets have always been an important component of Turkish cuisine. The origin of Lokum -Turkish Delight- dates back to the time of the Ottoman Empire.
Before the 18th century, honey and grape molasses were the only sweetening agents available to Turkish confectioners. With the introduction of sugar in the late 18th century, Turkey awakened to a new era of sweet making. Sugar brought with it the beginning of endless creative possibilities to Turkish confectioners. It was during this time that Turkish delight, one of the oldest known confections in the world, was created in the great kitchens of the Ottoman court.
A whimsical tale tells of the creation of turkish delight: In an attempt to appease his many wives, a famous Sultan ordered his confectioner to create a unique sweet. Eager to please his Sultan, the confectioner blended a concoction of sugar syrup, various flavourings, nuts and dried fruits then bound them together with mastic (gum Arabic). After several attempts, a most delectable sweet emerged from the royal kitchens. The Sultan was so delighted with these delicious little gems that he proclaimed the sweet maker the court’s chief confectioner! And this is the story of how Turkish delight was created. Hereafter, a plate of Turkish delight was served at daily feasts in the Ottoman court.
Turkish delight was unveiled to the west in the 19th century. During his travels to Istanbul, an unknown British traveler became very fond of the Turkish delicacies, purchased cases of “rahat lokoum” and he shipped them to Britain under the name Turkish delight.
It is believed that Picasso enjoyed Turkish delight daily to improve his concentration while Napoleon and Winston Churchill relished pistachio filled Turkish delights.
Today, Turkish delight remains the sweet of choice in many Turkish homes. Enjoyed worldwide, the subtle flavours of Turkish delight are known to compliment coffee and sweeten the breath at the end of a meal. Traditionally offered as a treat at Christmas in the west, Turkish delight is becoming increasingly popular as a sweet to be enjoyed year-round. Bayco’s authentic turkish delight is attractively packaged in a variety of gift boxes.