Turkish delight (Lokum)... The only desert associated with the Turks, its origins are self explanatory in many respects. Its name in various Eastern European languages comes from lokum or the Arabic name rahat al-hulqum meaning "comfort of the throat". At first an exclusive delicacy available only within the Ottoman Empire as a special day gift, it soon became a highly marketable export because of its distinctive taste, smell and appearance. Lokum was introduced to Western Europe in the 19th century. An unknown Briton reputedly became very fond of the delicacy during his travels to Constantinople and purchased cases of it, to be shipped back to Britain under the name Turkish delight. Turkish delight was produced using honey and molasses as its sweeteners and water and flour as its binding agents.
Lokum was initially made with honey, molasses and flour in 17th century but always with the secrets of its maker. When refined sugar and starch were discovered in the 19th century, its production technique changed, enhancing its flavours and the magic of makers. Thus, lokum has started to become associated with the maker.
One of the secrets to making Turkish delight lays in its cooking methodology. It must be boiled to a very specific time scale, requiring 2-3 hours for the lokum to achieve the correct consistency and for the ingredients to assimilate harmoniously.
Once the water boils, the sugar is added and the solution is boiled for an hour, stirred continuously before the various flavours of specially harvested fruits for Cafer Erol are added. After the flavourings have been carefully added, the mixture is poured into large wooden trays to set. About ten hours later it is ready to be cut into squares, generously dusted with icing sugar and packed into small boxes lined with greaseproof paper, ready for selling. Confectioner Cafer Erol uses this methodology in the cooking of small portions. The reason for this is to spread the cooking fire evenly during the cooking process.
Cafer Erol produces around 30 different types of flavours for its Turkish delights. The flavours vary from hazelnut to pistachio, rose to orange and walnut to almond and various others. The aim is to appease as many palates as possible. What makes Cafer Erol’s Turkish delights so different is the patience and care taken during the production process.