Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Turkish delight

Preface: I'm kind of slow-witted sometimes. I mean, I'm reasonably intelligent and can conjugate most English verbs and a few French and Spanish ones as well, but I'm not always the quickest on the draw.

That said, this past weekend, I was over in the Brentioch area of town and was hungry, so I stopped at a little gyro place for some falafel. The falafel was going to take a few minutes, so I decided to duck in to the grocery next door because it was advertised as an African grocery and I was intrigued.

The grocery is Gateway 2 Africa (warning: sound), which is on Nolensville Road, just south of Old Hickory Boulevard. The people running the store were so incredibly nice, friendly and helpful, that it made me slightly less disturbed about the selection of unusual dead animal parts in the freezers. I quickly scooted past the various goat parts and headed over to the cookies and candies. Mmm...plaintain chips and ginger cookies (tons of ginger cookies). I thought that I was done choosing my purchases when, just as I reached the register, I saw it--a Kit Kat. And not just any Kit Kat, but what appeared to be a British Kit Kat. And next to the Kit Kat? More Cadbury bars than you can shake a stick at. I ended up getting nearly $20 worth of candy bars. Why? Because these candy bars are made with a different recipe that produces a different taste than the American versions. And also because they're not made with Hershey's chocolate (which, indisputably has been formulated for the distinctly American palate for chocolate).

The Cadbury Fruit and Nut bars are my favorites of the "bars" (Raisinets are still number one of the general candy population), so I definitely got one of them, but I also got a few that I'd never seen before--a rum raisin version and something called "Turkish."

Here's where the dots become very connected for me...finally. I bought the "Turkish" having absolutely no idea what that meant. I've never read "The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe," so I wasn't aware that Turkish Delight was a sort of confection. Frankly, I thought it was going to have a rich coffee flavor, because that's what I think of when I hear "Turkish" with regard to flavoring. I thought this despite the fact that (I now see) there's a photo of a piece of the candy split open that reveals a pink center. And much of the package is a bright pink. It's very pretty. I love pink. But I still didn't expect to find pink stuff inside the chocolate because, well, I just wasn't paying attention. And I skipped a rite of passage that most children make in reading the C.S. Lewis books. I wasn't even aware that Turkish Delight enjoyed a surge in popularity after the release of the Narnia movie. Luckily, I have wikipedia to tell me these things...years later.

But I digress. I turns out that Turkish delight generally has a rose flavor to it. I was trying to figure out this familiar taste when I turned to the internet to figure out what the heck I was eating. It certainly makes sense now...all that pink. And, oh yeah, that rose is a popular flavoring for Turkish (and other Mediterranean) desserts. I know this since I actually own a jar of rose jam purchased at one of my favorite (and Turkish) restaurants, Anatolia. Duh.

And as if you weren't convinced enough that my thinking cap was missing the day I visited the African grocery, I'll tell you I thought I was buying British versions of these candies (because they looked like what I'd bought in the UK) but they were actually from South Africa. As in, from Africa. Double duh.

Incidentally, I really liked the Turkish Dairy Milk bar, but I like rose flavoring (and roses themselves, for that matter). It's an acquired taste, though. If you'd like to acquire one yourself, go visit the store. They have a little cafe as well that those of you who are a little more adventurous (and carnivorous) would probably really enjoy.


Tabitha said...

Oh.My. God. I LOVE YOU! Where is this place? you're taking me there, I miss Brit candy so much... that's the recipe that's followed in the chocolates and biscuits in Singapore and it's so much less milky or sugary than the stuff here.

It's probably good I don't like the taste of most candies here otherwise I'd be really really really out of shape!

But anyway, where is this place? I'm SO HAPPY!!!!!!!!!!!

Unknown said...

Cadbury from across the pond IS so much better in flavor and texture! OMG! Where is this place!?! I must follow you and get at least $20 of choco! Yum. Happy Holidays.

Nashveggie said...

Whole Foods has a somewhat decent selection of British Cadbury and other UK candies.

Delaney Mae said...

Gosh, I hate for my first comment on your great blog to be not-food-related, but how is it possible that you haven't read the Narnia Chronicles? Please do. I promise you'll enjoy them, no matter how old you might be the first time you read them. I've read them at least once every two years since I was a child.

Turkish Delight, yum! They have loads of British-type treats at that random international grocery tucked in the hollow underneath the parking lot of the Adventure Science Museum. I racked up there on Cadbury Milks and loads of Scottish shortbread.

lcreekmo said...

I used to eat Turkish Delight a lot as a kid and now I can't remember where it came from. Who made it or where we bought it. That stuff rocks. I love the idea of that inside a candy bar. I must drive down Nolensville soon!!