candy_heartsFor some people nothing says Valentine’s Day like Sweetheart  ® Conversation Hearts, the pastel-colored candies with the sweet embossed messages. Candy-lovers have the New England Confectionery Company (NECCO), the nation’s oldest multi-line candy company, to thank for this sugary classic. Each year the company makes over 8 billion hearts! With demand like that it’s clear that NECCO and its line of candies will be around for a long time.

Halfway around the world another legendary confectioner, Istanbul’s Haci Bekir, is busy keeping Turkish sweet-tooths happy. Long before Necco created its iconic candy, the Turkish sweet-maker Bekir Affendi was busy whipping up batches of lokum (LOH-kum, Turkish delight) and other sugary concoctions at his shop in the Bahcekapi district of what is now called the Old City.

lokumSince 1777 Haci Bekir has been Istanbul’s go-to shop for all things sweet. In addition to Turkish delight, you can find hard candy, helva, all manner of candy-coated nuts, and a host of other goodies. There’s even a special treat for new mothers. For families looking for a sweet taste of Turkish culinary history, Haci Bekir is a fun destination.

Can’t get away for a romantic weekend to Turkey this year? No worries. Take care of those sugar cravings with a virtual tour to see how Sweetheart  ® Conversation Hearts are made. 

Or surprise your loved ones with a batch of Turkish Delight cupcakes or this seductive menu of modern Turkish dishes.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to try one of these Squirrel Nut Zippers ®

Haci Bekir is located at # 83 Istiklal Street near Taksim Square.