Why You Won't Like Turkish Delight As Much As Edmund Did
Though Turkish Delight was said to have brought peace to a sultan's quarreling harem, Americans seeking out the candy after watching The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe may wonder if Edmund Pevensie couldn't have gotten a better price for his soul.
Though sales for the delectable confection are up 200 percent in the United Kingdom, there has been no major effort to introduce the candy to American Narnia fans, says Bernie Pacyniak, editor in chief of Candy Industry. In the United States, he says, Turkish Delight is an ethnic treat only found in specialty stores.
"It was hard for people to get accustomed to dark chocolate," Pacyniak says. "It will take longer for Turkish Delight."
However, it is quite popular across the pond. Perhaps the U.K. has popularized the treat by altering it to fit British tastes. Cadbury, which manufactures Turkish Delight (but isn't marketing it to Narnia fans), sells the candy covered in chocolate.
Real Turkish Delight has a jelly consistency, like marshmallows, and has fruit and nuts with a covering of confectioner's sugar, says Jordan Bayazit, the Turkish owner of Bayco Confectionery, the only major North American manufacturer of Turkish Delight, which it makes exclusively.
Unlike Cadbury, Bayco is blitzing its marketing of Turkish Delight. "We've been gearing up for three months," says Bayazit. For the past year, they have been selling gift boxes of the candy that include a copy of the first book in C. S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia. "We are aware of the fact that Turkish Delight is part and parcel of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," he says.
Unfortunately, Turkish Delight goes stale quickly, says Bayazit, so few in the United States have tasted it fresh. "Americans might have had a really bad experience," he said. The traditional rose flavor also tends to be too salty for those unaccustomed to it, and Bayco substitutes different types of fruit instead.
If it's such an acquired taste, Edmund apparently had acquired it. It is this food that he tells the White Queen he would "like best to eat." Unfortunately for Edmund, it was magic rather than fruit that served as the queen's recipe substitution.
C. S. Lewis writes:
The Queen let another drop fall from her bottle on to the snow, and instantly there appeared a round box, tied with green silk ribbon, which, when opened, turned out to contain several pounds of the best Turkish Delight. Each piece was sweet and light to the very centre and Edmund had never tasted anything more delicious. At first Edmund tried to remember that it is rude to speak with one's mouth full, but soon he forgot about this and thought only of trying to shovel down as much Turkish Delight as he could, and the more he ate the more he wanted to eat .
At last the Turkish Delight was all finished and Edmund was looking very hard at the empty box and wishing that she would ask him whether he would like some more. Probably the Queen knew quite well what he was thinking; for she knew, though Edmund did not, that this was enchanted Turkish Delight and that anyone who had once tasted it would want more and more of it, and would even, if they were allowed, go on eating it till they killed themselves.
The White Queen continues to tempt Edmund with the candy, telling him that "there are whole rooms full of Turkish Delight" at her house.
Even after finding out the witch's nature, it was the candy that drove Edmund on, Lewis writes: "When [Edmund] heard that the Lady he had made friends with was a dangerous witch he felt even more uncomfortable. But he still wanted to taste that Turkish Delight again more than he wanted anything else. He had eaten his share of the dinner, but he hadn't really enjoyed it because he was thinking all the time about Turkish Delightand there's nothing that spoils the taste of good ordinary food half so much as the memory of bad magic food."