Turkish Delight

Turkish Delight is a delectable sweet treat and we show you how to make your own.

07 Nov 2009
Turkish delight

Turkish Delight or Lokum dates all the way back to the Ottoman Empire when a famous sultan ordered a local confectioner to produce a delicacy for his many wives. The resulting combination of gum, fruits, dates, honey and nuts proved to be so popular that Turkish Delight was served at every court feast from then on.

It was not long before it became a very fashionable gift between close friends and lovers.

After this, the history gets a little sketchy. Apparently, an unknown British traveler found Turkish Delights in Istanbul and took the sweets back with him as gifts for his friends and family. Thus the delicacy was introduced to the Western world, strangely enough, as a treat to be shared over Christmas. Luckily, today we don't have to wait until Yule to eat these small luxuries.

Turkish Delight comes in many different flavours: rose, lemon, ginger, hazelnut. In fact, if you can think it, it can probably go into Turkish Delight ... and then you can still coat it with chocolate if that takes your fancy. However, the Turkish Delight that we know in South Africa (the pinkish and yellowish squares covered in cornflour and icing sugar) are vastly different from the lokum you can obtain in Turkey. These sweets are chocobloc full of resin, whole nuts and fruits, so much so that it seems difficult to believe that they are even remotely similar to our local variety.

(But, to let you in on a secret, it isn't uncommon for westerners to find the "true" Turkish Delight a little unpalatable and to rather opt for our own synthetic range.)

Other names
Turkish Delight is known by a number of other names in the Middle East. The most common of these names is lokum, as it is called in Turkey itself. The Armenians have changed this to lokhum and the Bosnians have taken this a step further and call it rahat lokhum. It is possible that the name rahat lokum is derived from an Arabic word, which means contentment of the throat.

Making Turkish Delight
The actual production of Turkish Delight is very easy. Basically, all you need to do is make a syrup of sugar and water and then add some gelatin and flavourants and leave everything to set. It really is that simple! But if you are not feeling quite ready to experiment by yourself, try one of our simple and tasty recipes. They are sure to boost your confidence and get your creative juices flowing.

6 great Turkish delight recipes

Turkish delights

No-bake chocolate cream cake

Turkish delight brulee

Cheese and sweet platter

Lemon Turkish delight

Turkish delights




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