Lokum if you Got’Em
Bridging the flavours and candy-making traditions of the Ottoman Empire with the modern palate, 206-year-old Şekerci (confectioner) Cafer Erol is a multi-generational, family-run institution in Istanbul’s Kadıköy neighbourhood.
“My grandfather’s grandfather started making candy in 1807 during the time of the Ottoman Empire,” says Yonca Erol, assistant manager of Şekerci Cafer Erol and a fifth-generation member of the family business. “When economic conditions worsened and they could not find raw materials to make hard sugar candy, they had to stop. In 1945, after WWII, my grandfather started making candy again.”
Şekerci Cafer Erol’s colourful window displays of hard sugar candies (akide) in glass jars sit alongside marzipan figurines, fruit jellies and nut pastes. These are just some of the confections produced in-house that beckon passersby to come inside. The shop’s specialty is lokum, also known as Turkish delight.
Their headquarters, in Kadıköy’s bustling shopping area, produces nearly 30 types of Turkish delight made from various spices, fruits, nuts and flowers. “On a normal day, we sell 500 to 600 kilograms of lokum,” says Erol. “During the year, if you include all the feasts, we sell 250 tonnes of lokum.”
Photo Source: Şekerci Cafer Erol
How to serve and enjoy Turkish delight:
Yonca Erol, Şekerci Cafer Erol, Istanbul
When and how is lokum typically served?
“Lokum is served by itself or alongside a Turkish coffee. It is typically eaten after a meal, although sometimes we serve it at the beginning if guests are visiting. We also serve lokum if there is a religious holiday or occasion. However, it is usually the guest who brings lokum as a gift.”
What is your favourite flavour of lokum?
“Double-roasted pistachio, and rose petal.”
Turkish Delight Recipes To Try:
- In Search of Yummyness: Turkish Delight
- Thyme: Rose Water Turkish Delights
- Sprinkle Bakes: Turkish Delight
- Gourmet Worrier: Turkish Delight Ice Cream