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Halva: a culinary speciality in Azerbaijan


Postcards

Halva: a culinary speciality in Azerbaijan

In this episode of Postcards, we discover an Azeri delicacy: baklava, or halva. According to the experts, this is a dessert which was already known in Ancient Mesopotamia, in the seventh century BC.

Key facts about Azerbaijan

  • Azerbaijan is a country in the South Caucasus region, between Southwest Asia and Southeastern Europe.
  • The Azerbaijan Republic declared its independence in 1918 before being incorporated into the Soviet Union in 1920. The modern republic declared its independence in 1991.
  • Its capital city is Baku
  • With a population of nearly 10 million, it covers an area of 86,600 square kilometres.

For euronews, Aurora Velez#! reports that halva is the quintessential Azeri dessert. Each region has its own recipe: euronews has been tasting the version from Sheki. Here, as well as hazelnuts, spices are added, and there is a hint of thyme and saffron.

The pastries, measuring approximately one metre in diameter, have become a fixture for travelling foodies.

Local pastry chef Togrul Valiahmedli gave us his recipe:

Each halva has five layers of ground rice, hazelnuts, sugar and a syrup made with water and lemon. You have to leave it to rest overnight.

You will have guessed that we won’t be given all the details. It’s a secret that has been well guarded from generation to generation.

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The shebeki at Sheki Khans' Palace in Azerbaijan

Postcards

The shebeki at Sheki Khans' Palace in Azerbaijan