During the preparations of the annual Vakantiebeurs Utrecht (vacation expo with about 20.00 visitors per day ) one of the first things we (Isropa* and Everyday Plantpower) decided on serving our visitors was Halva, a sweet delicacy from the Middle-East. The only problem was the fact that that much Halva would be too great an investment.
I should know because whenever I am in Amsterdam I make sure I pay one of my favorite stores a visit and take a few pieces of halva home. That store is called Sumsum and they have a wide variety of halva flavours, teas and tahini for sale.
So I decided to give them a call and ask for a discount. They told me I had to get in touch with the General manager, Liraz, and so I did. I explained everything to him and to my utter delight (and surprise in all honesty) he immediately agreed to help us out. I was extremely happy and proud and I’d like to tell myself that the fact that I spoke Hebrew with him helped quite a bit 🙂
He did not ask for anything in return, no promotion, no social media post nothing! A genuine nice guy who deserves credit that he made it possible for us to serve the visitors of the Isropa stand this special product from the Middle-East.
Many people had a taste, everybody loved it, some people thought it was a cheese of some kind, some people knew what it was, but the majority had never heard of Halva and did not know what it was made from.
So about time I explain to you what Halva is:
Halva is found in the Middle East, the Balkans, Eastern Europe and all the way east to India. Each region has its own signature version with local ingredients and flavors.
For instance in Iran the main ingredient is semolina, in northern parts of Eastern Europe it’s made of sunflower seeds and in India they use sweet vegetables like carrots, squash or sweet potato and the substance is more pudding like as opposed to the dry and crumbly halva in the Middle-East.
The Halva I served is the Israeli Halva which has sesame seeds (sumsum in Hebrew) as the main ingredient. The sesame seeds are grinded into sesame butter, also know as Tahini. It’s mixed with heated sugar and then cooled. The variety of flavors seems endless, but I think it’s safe to say that the adding of pistachios, vanilla or rosewater and cardamom are the most common. Another good thing about Halva is that it’s vegan (unless you add a non-vegan ingredient of course) and it’s healthy ( if you forget about the sugar….😉)
So whenever you’re in Amsterdam pay them a visit and treat yourself to this special sweet or to a good quality Tahini, you won’t regret it, I promise!
Or come with us on our culinary plantbased trip to Tel Aviv on the 15th of March (only a few spots available) and I will take you to Halva Kingdom. Two different companies, same product of which Halva Kingdom is based in Israel and Sumsum is based in Europe.
* Isropa is a Dutch travel organisation, specialised in vacations to destinations such as Oman, Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, Lebanon. But also Cyprus, Portugal, Malta and of course Israel! Isropa is Everyday Plantpowers business partner in our culinary plantbased trips to Tel Aviv.