Χαλβάς Halvas

Gilding the lily?

Gilding the lily?


The Greek Lenten fast restricts intake of a lot of things except vegetables and shellfish. This includes dairy products too (see this link for more).

This is usually the time of year that Halvas makes its triumphant return to the table as it is made from tahini and sugar and so avoids the dietary restrictions imposed by the church. There must have been a surfeit of Turkish sesame this year as halvah has been featured in the shops since Christmas.

It is super sweet – no kidding- and to my mind is best in its plainest form with a little vanilla flavoring. The markets are selling the stuff cut from big disks in various configurations. The concoction displayed above is a simple vanilla with marbled chocolate – with hazelnuts and raisins, both dark and blond coating the top. Others are worse (or better depending on your tastes).

In Greece there are two types – one made from semolina and the other from tahini.

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