Influence on Europe

Appears in
Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

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From the early sixteenth century onward, Ottoman cuisine exerted an influence on Europe. Rice pudding, described as “Turkish-style rice” and made with milk, sugar, butter, and rosewater, was introduced into Italy, where it was served, for instance, at Ercole d’Este’s wedding in 1529. Sherbet, a sweetened drink made with fruit juices, ground nuts, or spices, also spread first to Italy; in 1577 Francesco I de’ Medici requested recipes for preparing “Turkish sorbette.” See sherbet. Flavored syrups still common in Italy and Central Europe today are likely descended from the Turkish original. After Italy, sherbet spread via France to England, where in the seventeenth century it was made from crunchy slabs of flavored sugar (sert şerbet) imported from Turkey. This preparation was replaced in the nineteenth century by a cheap substitute made of sugar, bicarbonate of soda, and citric acid, the fizzy sherbet powder that is still popular with English children today. See sherbet powder.