Turkish Delight also figures in C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe with the White Witch subverting Edmund Pevensie with a magic box of locum. For a sugar-starved youngster in rationed, wartime Great Britain, it must have come as a munificent and unlooked for treat.
“The Queen let another drop fall from her bottle on the snow, and instantly there appeared a round box, tied with green ribbon, which, when opened, turned out to contain several pounds of the best Turkish Delight. Each piece was sweet and light to the very center and Edmund had never tasted anything more delicious. --- At first Edmund tried to remember that it is rude to speak with one’s mouth full, but soon he forgot about this and thought only of trying to shovel down as much Turkish Delight as he could, and the more he ate the more he wanted to eat. --- At last the Turkish Delight was all finished and Edmund was looking very hard at the empty box and wishing that she would ask him whether he would like some more. Probably the Queen knew quite well what he was thinking; for she knew, though Edmund did not, that this was enchanted Turkish Delight and that anyone who had once tasted it would want more and more of it, and would even, if they were allowed go on eating till they killed themselves. The White Queen continues to tempt Edmund with the candy, telling him that "there are whole rooms full of Turkish Delight" at her house.
Britain has had a long-time love affair with Turkish Delight. The Ottoman Empire was a trading partner with Great Britain for centuries and it probably was from Constantinople (Istanbul) that the first sweet-loving Brit bought up boxes of locum and brought them back to Britain. The Crimean War (1853-1856), brought large numbers of allied military personnel to Constantinople on their way to and from the Crimea. Florence Nightingale was also at Constantinople and founded a hospital in the Selimiye Barracks, which still stands. In any case, Victorian shops sold assortments of Turkish Delight and they were loved by generations as an exotic treat from Turkey. It is much less known in the U.S. although it is available here also.
Be selective in buying Turkish Delight or locum by ensuring that your is fresh and of the best ingredients. Too many people buy stale or poorly stored locum and ruin their experience. Locum comes in many flavors and fillings from rose flavor to walnut and pistachio fillings. I suggest an assortment box for your exploration. This is a authentic pre-Victorian treat, so don’t expect a modern taste.
Although I don’t generally endorse products or businesses (other than mine) but the only U.S. domestic and authentic, commercial volume maker of Turkish Delight is Bayco Confectionary in Bellingham WA. I have gotten a few boxes from them over the years and have been quite happy with their product. I especially like the rose flavored locum.
Locum: history, war, literature, betrayal, travel, and treats – who could ask for more! P.S. Although I really enjoy a good locum, I might not betray the whole world for some. Now for a big box of baklava … that’s another story.