Turkish delight, one of the most well-known foods of the Turkish cuisine, is also one of the most popular traditional sweets from Turkey. Turkish delight dating back to the Ottomans has an important place in daily life and culture. Turkish delight, presented as a gift for special visits, served as refreshment to visitors, first choice when you have a craving for a sweet, used as a quick source of energy during travels and recently served increasingly as a sweet along with coffee has become a veritable symbol of Turkey. In every street of Turkey, it is possible to find somewhere selling Turkish delight whose different varieties have been developed throughout the years because of its popularity. Turkish delight can be one of the best gifts representing Turkey that you can buy for your family and friends returning back from your journey in Turkey.
Turkish delight is estimated to be known in Anatolia since the fifteenth century, and according to some resources it dates back to the Persian Empire. It is known that the early varieties of Turkish delight became widespread in the Ottoman lands since seventeenth century. It is estimated that Turkish delight as it is known today was developed by Muhittin Hacı Bekir Efendi. The Turkish delight production company found by Muhittin Hacı Bekir under his own name towards the end of the 1700s is one of the oldest which still operates today. Thanks to the participation of Hacı Bekir Turkish delights to various fairs in Europe and the introduction of Turkish delight to the countries of the travelers returning back to Occident from the Ottoman Empire, it started to be known all over the world.
Traditional Turkish delight is produced with water, sugar, starch and optionally flavoring, dried fruits, nuts and powdered sugar. The most important feature of Turkish delight which is cut in small cubes or rectangular shapes after being poured into molds and cooked is being soft and elastic. A high quality Turkish delight should spread out under pressure, then regain its shape when the pressure is off and should not stick to the hand. The gelatinization gained thanks to the starch gives the brightness and transparency of the Turkish delight. Furthermore, cooking techniques may vary according to the varieties, for example, “double roasted Turkish delight”, one of the most popular Turkish delight varieties, has a different cooking procedure. Here are some of the Turkish delight varieties: Turkish delight with pistachio, Turkish delight with nut, Turkish delight with chocolate, Turkish delight with rose, Turkish delight with peanut, Turkish delight with fruits, rolled Turkish delight and tens of other varieties produced with the mixture of those.
During your journey, you can find somewhere selling Turkish delight everywhere you visit in Turkey. You can choose bigger Turkish delight shops for more varieties or visit the historical shops of Muhittin Hacı Bekir in Kadıköy, Karaköy, Galata and other districts of Istanbul. If you forget to buy Turkish delight during your journey, do not worry, you can find more than one place selling Turkish delight at the airports on your way home.