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Macedonian halva

Macedonian halva: Traditional Greek sweet, made with tahini and sweeteners, popular year-round. Available in various flavors and widely sold.

Close-up of Greek ‘Macedonian halva’

The refugees that arrived in Greece and settled in the northern Greek region of Macedonia after the destruction of the city of Smyrna (modern-day Izmir in Turkey) in 1922, started the production and trade of halva since they had the tradition and know-how of its preparation.

Halva is one of the most celebrated sweets of the Lenten period. Many Greeks associate it with Ash Monday or Shrove Monday but it actually is consumed any day of the year while it has a great nutritious value.

The ingredients of halva usually consist of a fatty substance (butter, olive oil, or sunflower oil), starch (flour, semolina, or tahini), and sweeteners (sugar, honey, petimezi or glucose,).

Macedonian halva is made from tahini, traditionally combined with petimezi or honey, while commercial halva found in food markets uses glucose, fructose or carob honey or combinations of thereof. It has a chewy texture. It is also called “the grocer’s halva” due to its availability in small grocery stores in the past, while nowadays it can usually be found in super markets.

It is marketed primarily in rectangular packages in various flavors, like vanilla or honey, with almonds, hazelnuts or raisins, with cocoa, a mixture of half vanilla and half cocoa or with chocolate icing.

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