The history of Turkish Delight (known as “lokum”) dates back over 200 years, making it one of the oldest candies in the world. Turkish legend has it that in his endeavor to quell the rumblings of discontent within his harem, a Turkish sultan summoned all his confectionery experts and ordered them to produce a unique dessert to add to the collection of secret recipes for which he was famous. As a result of extensive research, lokum was born.
In 1776, during the reign of Sultan Abdulhamid I, Bekir Effendi, a fully apprenticed confectioner, arrived in Istanbul and set up a little shop in the center of the city. He quickly won fame and fortune among people with a sweet tooth. Fashionable ladies began giving Turkish Delight to their friends in special lace handkerchiefs. These were also used as acts of courting between couples, as documented by traditional Turkish love songs of that era.