About Halva

History of halva from here to the end of the world

Halva is a confection that comes from India and Central Asia and is known worldwide. The name comes from the Arabic - حلوى, ḥalwā, which means "dessert" or "sweet". According to some reports, it has emerged in the V century, others say it happened a little later, but it is certain that in the VII century was already known to many. Too vast geography of halva is the cause of many regional variations that may be encountered. The base can be divided into two types according to whether it is a tahini (sesame or otherwise) or with a meal. Known and used today word halwa (halva) has entered the English language sometime in the period between 1840-1850. Classical Turkey, Poland and some countries in the Middle East is considered tahini halva, which comes with different nuts - almonds, walnuts, pistachios, pine nuts and more. An interesting kind of this product is pismaniye halva or also known as halva thread. In Albania and Macedonia are very popular chocolate halva / Crna Alva / and semolina halva / Alva griz /. In India and Pakistan preferred halva is from semolina wheat or rice flour, seasoned with melon, coconut, pineapple or other nuts. Loved and frequently served local specialties is carrot halva. In Israel well respected is classical halva not only because of the sweet taste, but also because it doesn’t contents meat and dairy ingredients. In countries like Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Iraq and Palestine typical is tahini halva, flavored with pistachios, almonds, chocolate or otherwise. There is a wide variety of this product from Argentina and Brazil to Sri Lanka and from Russia to Malta.

In the past, making halva in Bulgaria was considered a craft. In the mid-60s a tin of this classic confection with the inscription "20 years People's Power" becomes available for larger market. Nowadays it is produced at many more places and is affordable product for all regions of the country. In Bulgarian cuisine, traditional remains sunflower halva, whose consumption increases during fasting.

How to do?
And the smell must be delicious ...

Like any snack, halva has its craftsmanship – well-made halva should be short on threads and melts in your mouth. The technology of making is not complicated, although there are subtleties that manufacturers jealously guard as the most precious capital. The classic halva is made from sesame tahini, in Bulgaria respectively sunflower tahini, sugar and other commodities, among which is čùven. To the hot sugar syrup and dense are added tahini and other ingredients, stirred to give the desired consistency, then halva is poured into molds and left to cool. Tahini is a pure ground seed and consequently is the main raw material. Depending on the type of oil used, there is sesame, sunflower and peanut tahini. The colour of halva, whether it is darker or lighter respectively, depends on the degree of purification of the seeds of their shell (peel).

This product is among the first places in calorific value and is approaching the chocolate, but it is superior in content of proteins. Tahini is rich in vitamins B1, B2, B6 and calcium and it has a beneficial effect on the gastrointestinal tract. This ancient delicacy, which is a mandatory part of childhood to the present day, has a positive image in the minds of people and is still liked and wanted dessert.

    One of the best things concerning halva is that in many countries this product is connected with local festivals and customs. In North India and Pakistan halva is traditionally consumed during the local festivals of Diwali / Hindu, festival equivalent of the Christian Christmas / Holly / festival of colors / etc. In Bulgaria the festival, which is connected to halva is Shrove (the first Sunday before Lent) or also known as Farewell Sunday. It is a holiday with variable date which is always seven weeks before Easter. On this day, the Church urges believers to purify their souls and to feel their hearts with peace and love. This date also marks the beginning of Lent, which lasts 40 days. Typical custom is lighting bonfires and jumping over them, around which people play and sing songs. More popular is the custom of throwing flaming arrows (also known as butarnitsi). At home - a hard-boiled egg or white halva is tied with a red thread and a long stick tumbles to all who respectively try to bite. This custom is called "hamkane." It is believed that whoever manages to bite the most, will be healthy and happy throughout year.
On Shrove families gather to dinner at which everyone wants forgiveness for mistakes or other insults during the year. The younger kiss hands of the older and approach them with the words "forgive" and the answer is "forgiven you." Typical for this time of year is produced white solid halva, known as Lent halva.

About delight

"Eat sweet and talk sweet."

   Turkish delight is also one of the oldest confectionery in the world whose history most likely started from the 15th century. The name comes from the Arabic luqma (t) / luqūm, which means "bite". Marketed under a wide variety of flavors, types and shapesm, this confection is made mainly from starch and sugar in most cases is flavored with various spices. Very popular is the delight of various nuts such as walnuts, peanuts, pistachios and others. It is usually cut in the form of cubes, which to avoid sticking together are separated from one another with powdered sugar or coconut. Extremely prevalent in our southern neighbour hence the so-called rahat delight. In Greece, Turkish delight is consumed as a traditional treat for breakfast. There are even more interesting variations out there, such as anise and mint.

About Tahini

The name of this product comes from Arabic طحينة [tˤaħiːna], which as a verb means "to grind". In the early 19th century in Europe it becomes known with the name that is familiar to us today - tahini. Some of the first information about the existence and use of ground sesame seeds in cooking is from the 13th century. In essence, tahini as a food product is a thick, viscous mash of ground nuts, seeds (sesame, sunflower, peanuts, etc.).

Types and usage

  There are different types of tahini, depending on the type of ground nut. The most popular, it can be said is sesame tahini, but to Bulgarian market sunflower tahini is also well known.

Tahini from unpeeled seeds is darker and more bitter, in return, it contains more minerals and nutrients. Tahini made just from peeled sesame is known as white tahini. Not accidentally sesame tahini is said to be the elixir for the gastrointestinal tract. This porridge is rich in vitamins B1, B2 and B6, E and calcium. It has a high protein content.

   This product is the main ingredient in world famous dishes and pastries, such as hummus, baba ghanoush and of course halva. It has interesting applications in different countries especially those from the Middle East. In Armenia popular tahini lahmacun, which is a bread spread with tahini. In Turkey tahini is mixed with treacle and gets sweet. In Bulgaria, it can be said that the most popular is the consumption of tahini breakfast in combination with honey and various nuts. Increasingly they can meet different crackers and cookies, whose main ingredient is tahini, consumed mainly from lovers of healthy food.