A day without halvah is like a day without sunshine

UnknownHalvah, Tahini-based sweet

Yesterday I had a friend over for lunch. A friend who grew up in Mississippi, lives in Texas, and with whom I’m touring for a week in late April her home state. I thought since she will shortly introduce me to hush puppies, cheese grits, biscuits n’ gravy and chicken fried steak, oh, my god… (And yes, we are both diabetic and will have to test, test, test and walk a lot), I thought I’d introduce her to one of my favorite sweets that I was sure she’d never come across–halvah. Have you?

Like the 1979 advertising campaign,You Don’t Have To Be Jewish To Love Levy’s Jewish Rye” you don’t have to be Jewish to love halvah, but if you’re not, nor of middle-eastern descent, you may never have tasted it. 

Halvah is a sweet that has a texture as described by my Mississippi friend, this way, “Boy, that just melts in your mouth!” It comes in vanilla, chocolate, plain and/or with nuts. My personal preference is marble with nuts. The common ingredients are: tahini (sesame seed paste), sugar or honey, water and sesame oil. 

The Shocking Nutrition Facts:

1 bar (8 oz)

Total Fat: 66 g

Saturated Fat: 11g (the “unhealthy” fat)

Polyunsaturated Fat: 30 

Monounsaturated Fat: 21 g

Total Carbohydrate: 128 g

Dietary Fiber: 10 g

Protein: 23 g

Mind you to eat one bar for me would be unconscionable. You can also find low fat, low sugar halvah in some specialty stores, but it’s not easy to find and frankly, it doesn’t taste half as good. I say eat the real thing in small portions. I buy it at a middle eastern shop where it’s sold in chunks off a huge mound, think of a big wheel of cheese. My eating directions: Cut a small sliver (very thin slice, likely half an ounce), pop into mouth and savor. Cut one more sliver and repeat. Wrap halvah and put back into the refrigerator before you eat the whole thing.

When my friend’s step-daughter came to pick her up, she knew what halvah was and went right for it. So of course I packed it up for them to take with them on their trip home. But, I just happen to have bought another package yesterday. 

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