Turkish Delight

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

Turkish delight should really be known by its Turkish name, lokum (or rahat lokum, or loucoum). It is first recorded in a manuscript dating from the late 18th or early 19th century, and foreign travellers were extolling it from the early 1830s. Although its invention is often attributed to Hadji Bekir, who came from Anatolia to Istanbul in 1776 then rose to be chief confectioner to the Sultan, there is no hard evidence for this. The sweetmeat was first exported to England c.1850 and was initially known as ‘lumps of delight’. Dickens refers to a ‘lumps of delight shop’ in The Mystery of Edwin Drood (1870).