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what is turkish delight

What Is Turkish Delight And Where Does It Come From?

Despite having roots in the Ottoman empire and being one of the oldest sweet treats known to man, Turkish delight is still relatively new to many people. 2005 saw a sudden surge in the sale of Turkish delight thanks to the release of the film adaptation of C.S Lewis’ The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, but many people are still unaware of its true origins.

What Is Turkish Delight?

what is turkish delight


Turkish delight comes in many shapes and sizes, but all are connected by a gel made from corn starch and sugar. Basic varieties of Turkish delight are entirely gel-based with added flavorings such as rose water or lemon, while more extravagant and luxurious forms of Turkish delight feature dried fruit and nuts. 

Is Turkish Delight From Turkey?

what is turkish delight


Turkish delight has a very long history, dating back more than 500 years to the Ottoman Empire. There are several different legends about its origin, the most famous of which being that it was created by a Sultan looking for a way to woo his mistresses. Although this legend definitely makes for a good story, Turkish delight was actually invented by a confectioner named Bekir Effendi. Bekir grew up in a small town called Kastamonu in the mountains of Anatolia, modern-day Turkey. He set up a sweet shop in 1776, selling all manner of delicious sweet treats, including Turkish delight. Delicately wrapped in lace handkerchiefs, Bekir’s Turkish delight soon became a favorite amongst socialites and the royal court, taking Turkish delight from a common sweet treat to a revered dessert in the highest of elite circles. 

What Is Lokum?

Lokum is the Turkish name for Turkish delight. The word has its roots in the Arabic al-lukum, which can be translated to mean morsel or mouthful. Turkish delights are also sometimes called rahat-ul hulküm, which can be translated to mean ‘throat comfort’. Depending on where you are in the world, it’s not uncommon to see Turkish delight being sold under these names. 

How Is Turkish Delight Made?

what is turkish delight


Traditional Turkish delight is made by arduously boiling cornstarch and sugar over low heat for many hours until it forms a dense jelly-like texture. This jelly can then be flavored or added to dried fruits and nuts to create decadent Turkish delight sweets. Although Turkish delight is relatively easy to make, it does take a lot of time to perfect. For this reason, today, some manufacturers use gelatine to speed up the production process. The use of gelatine to create Turkish delight means that not all Turkish delight sweets are now vegan. 

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