Lokum “Turkish delight” is a traditional sweet prepared with water, granulated sugar, starch, citric acid or tartaric acid and dried fruit when desired.
Turkish delight is known in Anatolia since 15th century, and especially was extended within the border of Ottoman Empire in the 17th century. Turkish delight “Lokum” comes from Ottoman Turkish “rahat ul-hulkum” namely “throat comfort”.
It came to be known in Europe by a Briton traveller in 18th century. It became a major sweet in Britain and throughout the Europe continent. During this time, it also was given as present wrapped in silk handkerchiefs among upper class society. It was originally produced with grape molasses, honey and flavour mixture in early years. The production procedure was later changed in 17th century when starch was found and sugar loaf was begun using.
Currently, there are a few establishments producing candies and Turkish delight for centuries such as Hacı Bekir, Hafız Mustafa, and Cemilzade.
How To Make Turkish Delight
Sugar, corn starch and water are placed in a saucepan over low heat and stirred until the sugar dissolves.
Then, some part is taken form the mixture and put in the water in a different pan and controlled if it has necessary elastic stiffness or not.
Towards the end of cooking, pistachio, hazelnut, walnut, etc. and/ or fruits are added and gone on stirring. The mixture is poured into mold and flattened via aspatula and starch is dusted. After being kept in a dry and cool place (but not in the fridge) for two days, it may be served being cut, shaped.
History of Haci Bekir Confection
One of the first producers of Turkish delight Bekir Effendi, to be widely known as Hacı Bekir after his pilgrimage to Mecca, moved from Araç, Kastamonu to İstanbul in 1777. He opened a small confectionery shop in Bahçekapı and began to personally produce and sell varieties of “lokum” (Turkish delight). Hacı Bekir confections, with their history of four different centuries, appeal to taste in five continents today.
After the discovery of starch by German scientist Kirchhoff in 1811, Hacı Bekir began to use this instead of flavour and created his unique “lokum” with the combination of sugar and starch.
His “lokums” are still unparalleled and impossible to be reproduced in any other country although efforts to imitate the texture of Turkish lokums have conducted to the invention of jelly candies in the western world. When the fame of Hacı Bekir’s candies and lokums reached the Ottoman Palace, Sultan Mahmud II, the reformist sovereign who was the founder of the modern Ottoman, appointed him as Chief Confectioner to the Palace and also rewarded him with “Nişan-ı Ali Osmani”, a medal of honour of the first degree. Ingrained in our culture and tradition as a significant element of TurkishOttoman history, Hacı Bekir has also featured in novels and articles documenting the lifestyle of the times, been penned by foreigners who were components of the İstanbul mosaic of the 19th and 20th centuries, and even been portrayed by the Maltese artist Amadeo Preziosi, one of the most famous of his era. The original painting, showing Hacı Bekir in his shop with details hinting to the lifestyle of the times now hangs in the Louvre Museum. A lithographic reproduction of the painting is exhibited in the Topkapı Palace.
Following the death of Hacı Bekir Effendi, firstly his son Mehmed Muhiddin Effendi, and after him, his grandson Ali Muhiddin Hacı Bekir took over the business. They continued with the same principles, talents and dedication; and the honorary title of Chief Confectioner to the Palace remained within the family for generations.
In 1873, Mehmed Muhiddin Effendi was charged by the palace to present Ottoman confections in a fair organized in Vienna under the care of Franz Joseph I, Emperor of Austria and King of Hungary. He returned home with a silver medal and, having observed that all western participants carried their own trademark, created the first ever trademark of the Ottomans and his company, using the silver medal as a logo.
Later, in 1893, in the Chicago World’s fair celebrating the 40th anniversary of the arrival of Columbus to America, Mehmed Muhiddin realized the first production and sales of lokum there, introducing this specialty to the continent. In the Brussels Fair in 1897, he added gold medals to his trophies. "Attending several international fairs since 1800's Haci Bekir has became a world famous trademark in time" Under the management of Ali Muhiddin Hacı Bekir the grandson, Hacı Bekir became a world class company with ground-breaking business enterprises on an international level.
Towards the end of the Ottoman Empire, in 1911, Ali Muhiddin was granted the title of Chief Confectioner by the Palace of Egypt as well.With local agents in many foreign countries, the company is engaged in manufacturing, retail and wholesale, and exports various kinds of lokums. As the oldest company, today the fifth generation of the family is in business, in Turkey and one of the 100 oldest of the World and run by family members of the fourth and fifth generations.
The company continues to create the best and most delicious sweets in the world with an ever-expanding accumulation of knowledge dating back to two and a half centuries ago.Along with Plain, Rose, Mastic, Hazelnut, Pistachio, Walnut, Almond, Almond and Coconut, and Cream, which are known as classic flavours, our lokum varieties include fruits (sour cherry, strawberry, orange, apricot, lemon); spices (cinnamon, ginger, clove); and ‘’2 in 1’s’’ (rose/lemon, mint/lemon and ginger/lemon); and recently added varieties such as coffee, mint, date, cranberry, pistachio with pomegranate aroma, and chocolate covered lokums.