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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 ...