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When you wander through the Jerusalem souq, your senses are piqued by the sights, sounds, and smells enveloping you; out of this symphony of colors, noises and fragrances, a sweets store emerges. Its entrance way is framed by mouth-watering rectangular bars of the mocha colored crumbly, tender, crisp delicacy of halvah. You can’t stop yourself but step in, and experience for yourself the sweet taste savored from generations gone by. There is no fragrant treat that encapsulates the Middle-Eastern sweet-tooth more than halvah. The halvah bar is a common place sight throughout the bazaars of the region not just today, but has been a staple of the local diet for centuries. Its constancy within the culture and history of the eastern Mediterranean doesn’t rely solely on its delicious taste however. Containing protein, calcium, dietary fiber, and lacking any Trans fats means that the health benefits of this dessert have ensured that it remains a top choice for all. Today there are many variants of this sesame based delight, both in terms of flavors and in terms of quality. The East Jerusalem Goods Company works together with the artisan chef Kamel Hashalmon, in order to assure that our product is made only of natural ingredients, is fully vegan, and meets the highest standards of quality control. Our halvah bars uses a minimum of 90% sesame seed, less than 5% sugar, and contains soapwort root (Saponaria), a natural solidifier that helps keep the halvah fresh and crispy. It can be enjoyed by itself as a sweet snack, alongside a hot drink, or can be used in baking, or as an addition to a dessert.
East Jerusalem Goods Company halvah is made from pure Ethiopian sesame seeds. The sesame seeds are ground on traditional stones from the environs of Aleppo, following a long-established method that pre-dates the industrialization of this ancient art. Once the seeds are ground to an oily paste the sugars can be gradually melted over fire and very slowly added and combined to the paste in a traditional way that has been followed for centuries. The mixture is kneaded and the ingredients for the flavors of choice, such as rosehip or coffee, are added to the mixture before forming into the halvah bars that we know and love. Alternatively, the finished bar can be completed without any additional flavorings, allowing the deep sesame taste to permeate, as in the whole sesame option.
There are various different types of halvah known throughout the Middle East, the Balkans and Eastern Europe; these can be flour based or seed based. In Israel the seed based variety is the norm, and it is based on sesame seeds. Therefore the primary ingredient is sesame seed and the East Jerusalem Goods Company halvah bars have a minimum of 90% sesame seed content. The next main ingredient is sugar, of which our bars contain no more than 5%. Added to the sesame seed and sugar is just a touch of soapwort root (Saponaria) which helps to solidify the end product and keep it crisp and fresh. Finally various ingredients can be added to provide the different flavors for the finished bar. The flavors can be comprised of fruits, nuts, beans, sweets, or plant based options, for example coffee, citrus peel, rosehip, pistachio, and cocoa.
Halvah can be found in a variety of stores in North America including some large supermarket chains, and specialist middle-eastern shops. However, many of these products will be industrially made; it is very unlikely that they will use traditional ingredients or methods, and will likely be very high in sugar content. In comparison, the halvah bars sourced by the East Jerusalem Goods Company are all traditionally made with only natural ingredients, a low sugar content, and vacuum packed at source to ensure freshness on delivery. We deliver our products right to your door, so no need to search elsewhere.
Our halvah use only natural ingredients and are 100% vegan. One of the core beliefs of the East Jerusalem Goods Company is responsible sourcing and fair trade. For this reason, all of our ingredients are organically grown, and produced in complete adherence to these values. Therefore, not only are our products healthy, and vegan, but you can purchase safe in the knowledge that your products have exploited neither land nor person, and have contributed to a fair economic reality in the region.