I don't know about you, but I LOVE Turkish Delight.
We're in Istanbul with our historian, Erkan. Every morning he comes to our hotel lobby to pick the three of us up, taking us sight-seeing and answering my endless questions.
"Where can I buy the best Turkish Delight in all of Turkey?" I ask Erkan. "I'd like to bring some home as gifts."
So, we head to a 240 yr. old sweet shop called “Haci Bekir” off Taksim Square and, along the way, Erkan tells me the amusing history of Turkish Delight.
In 1777, a man name Haci Bekir moved to Constantinople (Istanbul) and opened up this confectionary shop. His little jellied sweets called "Lokum" became so popular, everyone in the Ottoman Empire wanted them.
The recipe was kept secret for generations, but it contained a brand new secret ingredient called...cornstarch.
The Sultan, Mahmud II, was completely obsessed with "lokum".
"Bring me Haci Bekir, for I shall appoint him Chief Confectioner to the Palace," he said. (Okay, I'm paraphrasing the Sultan.)
A few years later, a British tourist comes to town and buys a bunch of boxes of "lokum" from the quaint confectionary shop to bring home with him.
When he gets back to London he passes the sweets around.
"The people of Constantinople love these," he tells all his friends. "The confectioner who makes these makes ALL the sweets for the palace."
"Mmmm. What's it called?" his friends ask.
"Oh dear...I don't recall," he replies. "But it certainly is a...Turkish Delight."
*insert polite British laugh here*
And to this day, the rest of the world calls locum...Turkish Delight.