It was when Russian chemist Konstantin Kirchhoff changed starch to sugar in 1811, he had no idea the scale of his discovery. Because it was going to make the fortune of a Istanbul confectioner (living in Istanbul, Turkey). You can find these Istanbul delicacies at the doorstep of the Faubourg Epicerie.
Haci Bekir had been living since the end of the 18th century in a small shop in the Bahçekapı district, located in the center of the capital of the Ottoman Empire. Familiar with the techniques of making the famous “berlingots” candy, his ambition was to invent a much softer and easier to chew confectionery… by chance he replaced wheat flour with starch in his artisanal recipe and thanks to this error: he created Turkish delight. Immediate success! Turkish delight was born, a word which accurately reflects the intentions of the confectioner: the Turkish word “rahat lokum” comes from the Arabic “rahāt ulhulqūm”, which means “the rest of the throat”.
A mixture of water, sugar and corn starch, the tender and delicate paste is often scented with rose, sometimes embellished with almonds, pistachios or even hazelnuts. The Ottoman Empire was already fond of sweets made from honey and plants (such as gum arabic). But none had yet reached this ideal consistency.
At the court of the Sultan, people were very fond of these new sweets, which earned the confectioner the appointment of grand master confectioner of the palace, a real honor! The sweets gradually began to circulate in fairs and world exhibitions, where they collected medals of success. Hacı Bekir shops flourished and Turkish delights very quickly spread across Europe as “Turkish delights”, Turkish delights still known by that name in English.
All over the Mediterranean basin, from Egypt to the Maghreb, the famous sweets are now made, which are often consumed with Turkish coffee.
If you want to taste the delights of Haci Bekir, one solution: Épicerie du Faubourg. You will find on site wonderful Turkish delight with different tastes (pistachio, hazelnut, rose, fruit, nature …).