There is an old Turkish saying that says: “Eat sweetly and speak sweetly”. This sums up the importance of sweet things in Turkish cuisine and the development of what we in the UK call Turkish Delight, but what in Turkey is known as rahat lokum. |
First, Some History
Prior to the eighteenth century, the only sweetening agents available to Turkish sweet makers were honey and grape molasses. When sugar arrived on the scene it brought with it a whole new world of sweet opportunities and the emergence of Turkish Delight. The exact origins of this soft sweet are unknown but many think that it was originally invented by a confectioner named Haci Bekir for Sultan Abul Hamid who wanted something sweet for his harem.
True or not, Turkish Delight is a firm favourite here in the UK. The squishy, sugar-dusted cubes consist of a gel made from starch and sugar, which is mixed with dates and chopped nuts. Traditional varieties are flavoured with aromatic citrus fruits and flowers. Now there are even gourmand perfumes which will surround you in a delicious cloud of sweet-smelling Turkish Delight – what a gift to get the sweetmeat fan in your family!
Four Generations of Master Confectioners
Koska is a family business run by the Dindar family that has been producing their delicious wares since the early 1900s. Initially they were known for their halva, a sweet made from sesame seed, tahini and sugar or honey. The name of the firm comes from the neighbourhood where they originally established their factory.
So great was the demand for this sweet that production expanded and, in 1974, they began producing the traditional Turkish sweetmeat that we love so much. The original product was based on an old family recipe that had been handed down from generation to generation – and their product today is still based on that tried and true recipe. For a taste of the original, we recommend that you try out their Rose & Lemon Turkish Delight available in a traditional hexagonal box or a beautifully decorated round tin.
Health and History
Today Koska is one of Turkey’s leading manufacturers of sweets and jams. In keeping with the times, the brand uses no artificial colouring or flavours in its products and is gluten-free and wheat-free, as well as being made without gelatine. This makes them an excellent recommendation for coeliacs, diabetics, vegetarians, vegans and those with a Kosher diet – a valuable addition to your free-from range!
I recommend stocking some of their classic flavours, such as mixed nuts and the classic rose and lemon, as well as a few of their delicious, more adventurous varieties, such as coconut-covered hazelnut and pistachio. Although considered by some in the UK to be a seasonal confection enjoyed at Christmas, make sure that you are well-stocked all year round, as the demand is always high.
Angelina Moufftard works for hf Chocolates, established wholesale confectionery suppliers with decades of experience supplying sweets and high-end chocolates to retailers across the UK, including Koska’s delicious Turkish Delight. Working with the most dedicated suppliers from France, Spain, Germany, Holland, Belgium, the USA and the UK, hf Chocolates' great tasting and beautifully packaged products add panache to any sweet display.
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