Two slices of halva with pistachio

About halva

What is halva? It’s a traditional sweet, which is popular in huge territory. Various sources claim that it originated in the Middle East and later spread out to the Balkan peninsula, North Africa and even India. Nowadays halva is much appreciated dessert in almost half of the Europe (if you add on Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Ukraine and big part of Russia to the Balkan states). Nevertheless, the Middle East still offers the biggest variety of halva. But this sweet is more and more on demand in other countries, notably UK and US, because of the great beneficial properties.

In ancient times it was made from dates and milk or from sesame seeds and honey. As the time passed, more variations were invented, more ingredients were tried, more complex ways of production were used. These days in different countries you may find a lot of quite similar and totally diverse kinds of halva (which may be called helva, halawa, chalva, halwa, halvah, chałwa, alva, haleweh, halava, helava, halua, aluva etc). But in fact there are two main types of halva: flour based and nut based. The most common to Europeans is the latter one, made from crushed sesame or sunflower seeds, sugar syrup and flavors. Very often the extra ingredients like nuts, cocoa, dried fruits or even chocolate are added to it. I noticed that halva is a little bit varied in every country. So there‘s much to explore, if you like this sweet.

You may also call it the oldest food supplement in the world, as halva contains a lot of essential minerals, fatty acids, dietary fiber, proteins, aminoacids and other useful elements. But stay sane and indulge this dessert in a moderate way because of the high sugar content. Up to 30 g of halva should be enough to satisfy your sweet tooth.

And don‘t forget to read labels on the packaging of this dessert: the less emulsifiers, acidity regulators used in it, the better nutritional value you get. Also pay attention to the look of halva and the storage conditions, when you buy it. If you notice a glossy, sticky or even leaky surface and if it is being sold in sunny place or in the heat, halva may be stale or not in good condition…

Finally, you should believe me that you deserved to unveil for yourself a divine taste of halva. And I hope that will help you to choose the right one. Have a sweet life!

Two slices of Argoudelis halva with Kernel pistachio