Most sugar-lovers know the glories of lokum (Turkish delight), which was invented in the late 18th century, but there were many other candied highs that came with the confectionery revolution brought about by the ready availability of sugar from European refineries at that time.
Before sugar became widely available, Turkish confectioners used honey and grape molasses as sweetening agents, which they mixed with flour, water and other ingredients. Refined sugar made the creation of Akide candy possible.
Sugary syrup was boiled in copper cauldrons over a wood fire to reach the correct temperature and consistency, and then flavored with rosewater, mint, cinnamon, the juices of bergamot, oranges, lemons, strawberries and other fruits, or mixed with nuts or sesame seeds.. The transparent variety glimmers like crystal and comes in a rainbow of natural colors and luscious flavors; whitened akide has mother-of-pearl and a satiny texture. Don't be stingy with yourself; try them both. Just think of it as one of the "delicious" ways of involving yourself in Turkish culture and its history... Rows of glass jars filled with akide made a tempting display for customers.
The akide and lokum produced by the confectioner Hacı Bekir
were so beloved by the Sultan of the time, that he appointed Hacı Bekir chief
confectioner to the palace. Hacı Bekir's fame even extended beyond the bounds
of the Ottoman Empire. His confectionery was exhibited at fairs in Europe and
awarded gold and silver medals. Hacı Bekir is still the oldest and the most
famous confectioner of Istanbul
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