Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Victorian treats part 1

One of my favorite treats is a confection made popular in the Victorian era - Turkish Delight. It's one of those foods I find people either love or they hate, and sadly it seems more people dislike it then do enjoy these morsels.

I remember reading as a child, the classic book the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. In it Edmund succumbed to the White Queen's temptation of Turkish delight, and I wondered what it must take like. Later I found I had actually been eating it already in the form of the chocolate bar Big Turk. Somehow I didn't make the connection until I was older.
As an adult I discovered at a local candy store that carries imported and specialty candy, the traditional variety that is just jelly with corn starch around the individual pieces. I also found Fry's turkish delight, which I think is my favorite so far(thank you Sugar Mountain). Whenever I go to this store I always walk out with my Victorian era favorite.

Turkish Delight goes back to the 15th century where it originated in the Ottoman Empire. In the 19th century a British business man brought some back to England where it was first marketed as Lumps of Delight (mmm..that's appetizing). Some even claimed it was a treatment for diarrhea. Lol. (you gotta love Victorian era treatments for illness - alcohol, morphine, and candy).

I Have to say I only eat these morsels of delight for enjoyment. And I recently learnt that there are actually other flavors! I was mentioning to a friend that I was planning to go to Harrod's on my upcoming trip to London. She told me that they have the best Turkish delight including other flavors such as lemon! What? Other flavors! Now I really have to go.

What are your thoughts on these lumps of delight? Love it? Hate it? Let me know.

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  1. I've tried the kind that they sell at Portage Place...the name of the business eludes me at the moment...and I wasn't too keen on it. But at the mention of Lemon flavoured TD, I might be willing to give it another go. ;)

  2. Jilly, I think I know the place you are thinking of. That Sweetz place?

    You know I love me some Turkish Delight. Whenever I come across some, I have to try it. I've tried the stuff at Sweetz, Candy Mountain, and the various chocolate bar forms (I found a Dairy Milk version, Fry's, and of course Nestlé's Big Turk). The "real" stuff is mighty powerful and I can hardly eat a whole piece, but I do enjoy it. Rose water is the "traditional" flavouring (which is why many people think it tastes like soap or perfume). My friend is going to Turkey this fall and I asked her to bring me some back, straight from the source!! We'll see how our version stacks up....

    I've heard that there are perfumes out there that smell like this confection. I WANT THEM ALL.

  3. I must admit that I am not much of a fan of turkish delight. Which is rather odd because I love most other Turkish food, especially the sweet honeyed pasteries and sweets. I think the reason why I don't like Turkish delights is because I was introduced to them when I was too young to admire the flavours. I have had Turkish delight flavoured with lemon water once, and that was very nice.

  4. A treatment for diarrhea. How the delight has changed. I'm not much of a delight fan. Give me picnic or TIM TAM any day!

    I see your a writer and play guitar. NICE!

    Greetings from Australia.

  5. Scoop and Weigh on Taylor has boxes of turkish delight in a variety of flavours. My favourite is lemon for a Christmas treat we always buy a box!