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Turkish Delight (Lokum)
The story of the creation of Turkish Delight (lokum) begins in the late 1700s, when Ali Muhiddin Haci Bekir, confectioner to the imperial courrt in Istanbul, listens to the sultan rant:
"Hard candy! I'm tired of hard candy!" the sultan growled as he cracked a tooth on yet another sourball. "I demand soft candy!"
Rahat lokum ("comfortable morsel"), nowadays called simply lokum, or Turkish Delight,
You can still buy lokum at Ali Muhiddin's shop in Eminönü today, almost 250 years since the intrepid confectioner saved his sultan from sourballs…
Over the centuries Ali Muhiddin's descendants (the shop is still owned by the family) fiddled with the recipe, adding good things like walnuts, pistachios, oranges, almonds, clotted cream, and of course chocolate. (The plain rosewater original is still a favorite, however.)
Lokum (Turkish Delight) is now made and sold in thousands of shops throughout Turkey, and enjoyed with Turkish tea or coffee, or just by itself. A favorite place to buy it is Afyon, where the rich local clotted cream is used to make kaymakli lokum.
You can make your own Turkish Delight at home. Here's a recipe...