Turkish delight (Lokum) is a confection that in the West is frequently manufactured from starch and sugar, but which in the Middle East takes a variety of forms more subtle, including premium varieties made almost solely of chopped dates, pistachios and hazelnuts or walnuts. Western varieties have a soft, jelly-like consistency, and are often flavored with rosewater, mastic or lemon. The confection is often packaged and eaten in small cubes dusted with flour, icing sugar, copra, or powdered cream of Tartar to prevent clinging. Other common types include flavors such as cinnamon or mint.
Lokum has been produced in the Ottoman Empire since the 15th century. Originally, honey and molasses were used as sweeteners, and water and flour were the binding agents.
Lokum was introduced to the West in the 19th century. An unknown Briton reputedly became very fond of the delicacy during his travels to Istanbul, and purchased cases of lokum, to be shipped back to Britain under the name Turkish delight.
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