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Each Box Contains One Pound of Turkish Delight.
Original Pistachio Turkish Delight Candy - FANTASTIC ! Pistachio
Nory Pistachio Locum Supreme Bar described as Pistachio Halva in some ethnic
cultures, this popular selection is filled with generous amounts of
roasted whole and chopped California pistachios, sheathed in rose and
orange blossom flavored locum. Each bar is packed densely with nuts and
contains 25% less sugar. Do not refrigerate, keep in cool and dry
place. High quality product.
Here what they write about us
Nory Rahat Locum
Sometimes I look at photos of the markets in Turkey, with stalls piled high with different kinds of lokum
(also called Turkish Delight, locum or lokumi - I’ll just call it locum
for this review) and wish that places like that existed a bit closer to
But it turns out that they do. No, they don’t sell in big open air
markets. Los Angeles has its own classic locumist (is that a word?)
called Nory Rahat Locum. In 1964 a Romanian-Armenian confectioner
named Norayr settled in Hollywood and started making classic locum
using his family’s 100 year-old recipes. Norayr retired and sold the
company to the Jibilians in 1979, who in turn sold it to Sahakians last
year when they retired.
They’re dedicated to making a local product, right down to the citrus
flavors and nuts in it, the boxes for packaging. The only non-American
content is the mastic used for the Mastica flavor, imported from one of
the few sources, the island of Chios in Greece.
Locum is made from simple ingredients: sugar, water, starch and
perhaps corn syrup and citric acid, some nuts, flavorings and colors.
It’s rather like a dairy-free pudding. The mixture is boiled until the
starch combines completely with the liquid and sugars to form a silky
smooth paste. Then it’s poured and cooled in a shallow baking pan until
it’s ready to be cut into squares. The traditional method of storing and
serving involves tossing the cubes with a mixture of confectioners
sugar and corn starch to keep them from sticking.
Nory Rahat Locum makes a huge variety of Locum products. They
have the traditional rosewater, mint and orange as well as the nut
versions including pistachio, almond, hazelnut and walnut. But what
caught my eye were flavors like Bergamot, Licorice and Mastica.
I don’t know much about Mastic
(or in this case Mastica). I looked it up of course, since the whole
point of Candy Blog is to explore new flavors. I know that it’s a
natural plant resin that can be chewed like chicle. You might even
recognize it as the root of the word masticate (to chew). The mastic
tree (Pistacia lentiscus) is part of the Cashew family and is
closely related to the Pistachio. I’ve had mastic gum before, I picked
up some samples at some trade show along the way and it like the name
implies, it’s like chewing on tree sap when you get it in its pure form.
(Still stimulating and fresh-tasting, if a little hard to chew after a
The idea of using mastic as a flavoring was new to me, even though
the internet tells me it’s a classic confectionery flavor in the Middle
East and Mediterranean.
The pieces appear uncolored, just a pale yellow. The texture is smooth and moist, with an easy bite.
The flavor is lightly woodsy, a little earthy. It reminds me of
ginseng gum. A cross between tongue depressors, rosemary with a slight
whiff of golden beets. At times it reminded me of office supplies, like
Scotch tape, envelope adhesive and laser printers. There’s a fresh,
slightly jasmine aftertaste. I know this all sounds unappealing but it’s
soothing and comforting, like the smell of rain.
8 out of 10
While I was most excited by the exotics, there were more mainstream flavors.
Mint was bright green on the inside, like a traffic signal.
This was some powerful peppermint. Probably too minty for me. It was
smooth and had an excellent texture, the mint was so strong that it had a
bit of a warm sensation for me but it did cut the sweetness. 7 out of 10
Rose - flowery and a bit like honey but without the over soapy notes that florals sometimes have. 7 out of 10
Orange - instead of orange blossom or orange zest this was
like a whole orange flavor. A little like sweet, low acid orange juice
without the pulp. It wasn’t my favorite in the bunch, I would have liked
more zest in it. However, I can see this being a very accessible and
easy flavor for those new to lokum to enjoy. It’s very similar to Orange
Slice jellies, though so much smoother since there’s no granulated
sugar crust. 7 out of 10
was deeply colored and had a scent that was a combination of rose and
raspberry. The floral and berry notes were good, but I think this one
suffered with an overuse of food coloring, which gave it a weird
metallic/bitter tone that was inconsistent with a desirable flavor. 7 out of 10
Licorice (not shown) was a polite dose of anise, like those
Anise Bears except so much smoother and a little warmer, like there was a
touch of ginger in it. Again, the food coloring gave it a weird taste
as well. At this point I should note that part way through my tastings
of the locum I emailed with Armand Sahakian and noted the difficulties I
had with the heavily colored flavors. He confirmed that he was planning
to take the products all natural by the end of the year, so this will
not be an issue in the future. 7 out of 10
Bergamot was uncolored, which really helped the flavors to
take the center stage. It wasn’t as strongly flavored as I thought I
could tolerate, just a light kiss of what most people know as the
essential flavor of Earl Grey tea. Not too sweet, soft and smooth. 8 out of 10
The same locum also came in a nutty version: Bergamot and Pistachio.
The floral and grassy notes of the soft and chewy pistachios go so well
with the light herbal and citrus flavors of bergamot. If it weren’t so
messy I’d probably eat the whole box.
The other nutty varieties were supplied to me in the more mainstream combinations. Hazelnut was in a vanilla locum as was Almond.
They were mild and pleasant, sweet but then again the lack of the
addition flavor really let the nutty notes come through. The hazelnut
was really nice because the roasted flavors go so well with vanilla. It
got me to wondering how this variety would do with a few cacao nibs
8 out of 10
Part of me wanted more nuts, but that’s where it’s lucky that Nory has another line called Supreme Squares.
Supreme Squares (they also come in bars) are a thicker version
of locum with far more nuts. I tried two versions, one is the Pistachio
and Rose shown above, which had a light floral note with the sweet and
grassy crunch of the pistachios. The chew of the locum was fun, not
quite a caramel, but still a bit on the stringy side but ultimately
smooth. I ate them all. Just to let you know, I had eight pounds of
locum (yes, 8 full boxes) that I’d been eating over the past two months,
this was the only box that I finished all by myself.
second version I tried was the Almond which has a vanilla base, like
the locum I tried. It reminded me a bit of a translucent jelly version
of Nougat de Montelimar. In fact it would benefit from a little dash of
honey. The vanilla gave it a sweeter taste but the super crunchy nuts
balanced it out. I definitely preferred it to the standard, less-nutty
The ratings for the nutty Locum and the Supreme Squares are a solid 8 out of 10.
Armand Sahakian has done a great job of updating their product
website and doing more outreach in social media (facebook and twitter),
it’s fun to see a candy with such a long heritage stay current. He tells
me that the packages will also be updated as well. The boxes that I got
all looked the same with simple stickers denoting what flavor was
inside, the new ones will be specific to the contents.
The only issue I actually have with lokum in general is how messy it
is. It’s a sitting down candy, not an on-the-run candy. It’s messy,
though thankfully already portioned. The Brits have a great idea there
with dipping it in chocolate, but that just adds another flavor to it.
Also, in the case of Nory, the package sizes are just too big for me. I
don’t want a pound. I have a short attention span for candy (even in my
pre-blogging days). I might want 8 ounces, but not a whole pound. I
might like even smaller - like 4 ounces or “bar format” that would just
be a little tray with 2 ounces. The Supreme Squares are apparently
available that way.
Nory has mostly California distribution (via Indo-European Foods and
Kradjian Importing Co), though I believe it’s also available online.
Markets that carry Turkish, Armenian, Greek and Persian foods are most
likely to have them.
Best Turkish Delight: Nory Locum in Canoga Park
|Turkish delight at Nory Locum|
If you've never had excellent Turkish delight, deceptively simple
bits of chewy, gelée-like candy often flavored with bergamot or
rosewater, sometimes shot through with pistachios, you haven't been
spending enough time in Middle Eastern shops or reading C.S. Lewis.
Or hanging out with Armand Sahakian, the Lebanon-born and
Pasadena-raised candymaker who operates a 3-person business out of a
tiny shop in Canoga Park.
Behind the storefront, hung with blinds and looking deceptively like a laundromat, a huge sign that says "Nory Locum"
-- as if you'd magically know what that was -- and a far smaller sign
suggesting that you might ring the doorbell if you want admittance,
you'll find Sahakian's cluttered office and stacked boxes of candy like
you've stumbled into a confectioner's secret warehouse, which in a sense
|Armand Sahakian in the back of his Turkish delight shop|
Go further back, and you'll find the kitchen, the two huge copper
pots -- one that dates back 30 years to when the previous owners moved
from Hollywood to the current location -- and the enormous bags of sugar
and nuts and starch, the trays of candy, and most likely Sahakian
himself, probably pouring his latest batch of Turkish delight, perhaps
flavored with bergamot, maybe pomegranate, maybe rose, maybe loaded with
pistachios or almonds.
It's a tiny operation, Sahakian figures maybe 1,000 square feet
total, and with all of three people to run the business, two of whom are
part-time. Sahakian is the only one who makes the candy, from a recipe
he learned from Dickran and Arman Jibilian, the couple from whom he
bought the company in June of 2009. Trained first in the family shoe
business and later as a chef -- he graduated from culinary school in
Orange County -- Sahakian worked at the Hyatt and the Sofitel and then
for five years as director of catering and restaurants at the Santa
Anita racetrack before quitting to work for himself.
"I was looking for a business so I could spend more time with my
kids," said Sahakian, who has two small daughters whom he plans to "send
to college with candy." If the 530 pounds of Turkish delight that
Sahakian makes every day are any indication, his daughters can probably
plan on grad school.
The candy factory is small and efficient and friendly, or at least Sahakian is. It also looks a lot like what we imagine
a cocaine processing facility looks like. There are wooden trays filled
with white powder stacked neatly in one corner, equipment next to more
trays and bags of white powder, and a machine -- for cutting the candy
-- with even more trays of white powder. It's powdered sugar, mostly,
although some of the trays contain starch. Imagine if Charlie Bucket had
grown up to be a DEA agent.
|making Turkish delight at Nory Locum|
As for the name, Sahakian says that locum or lokum
is "what we call it in Armenian," and it means, literally, "contentment
of the throat." Turkish delight, however, is the more common name for
the candy, which originated in Turkey ("Asia Minor at the time") about
500 years ago when, supposedly, "a sultan got sick and tired of hard
Sahakian says that he just saw the ad for a business for sale, not
realizing the connections to his own heritage: he later found out that
the previous owner's "nephew's sister is married to my cousin." The
candy is something he grew up with too. Sahakian said that they'd eat
the stuff "instead of Snickers," fashioning a kind of S'more by pressing
a piece of Turkish delight in between a pair of round sweet biscuits.
Try that the next time you're around the backyard bbq with your kids.
With or without your tattered copy of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, or maybe your complete works of Claudia Roden.
|making Turkish delight at Nory Locum|
|Turkish delight at Nory Locum|
|making Turkish delight at Nory Locum|
WE HAVE BEEN IN BUSINESS FOR OVER 40 YEARS
Tucked in the back room of a
tiny powdered-sugar-dusted San Fernando Valley storefront, Armand
Sahakian patiently tends to the sweet syrup bubbling in two giant copper
caldrons. Six days a week, the owner of Nory Candy & Pastry
delicately flavors each batch with citrusy drops of bergamot oil,
rosewater or the essences of various fruits, then pours the candy into
wooden trays to cool into gelée-like locum
, the confection known as Turkish delight.
That this story isn't one of C.S. Lewis' Turkish delight-filled
"Chronicles of Narnia" fantasies is clear from the Winnetka shop's
parking lot, where the weathered Nory Locum sign is wedged between those
for a nail salon and dry cleaners. But for this Armenian candy maker,
what lies behind that front door really is a fantasy of sorts.
Sahakian and his mentor, the candy shop's 71-year-old former owner,
Dickran Jibilian, have been sharing their favorite childhood sweet with
their adopted country since long before the box-office-driven surge in
demand for Nory's Turkish delight. And in the process they've developed
an unexpected father-and-son-like bond.
"We just connected; it was one of
those amazing moments," says Sahakian, who took over the shop a couple
of years ago and is covered in almost as much snowy-white cornstarch and
powdered sugar as the candy he makes.
Jibilian and his wife, Armen, immigrated to Southern California from
Egypt and purchased the Turkish delight factory more than 30 years ago
from Nory Hovagimian, an Armenian immigrant from Romania. Hovagimian had
opened the small candy shop in Hollywood in 1964, and the Jibilians
moved the company to its current location in 1981.
FOR THE RECORD:
An earlier version of this story and a headline gave an incorrect last name, Bastdmajian, for former owner Nory Hovagimian.
Around the same time, Sahakian's family had fled Lebanon because of the
country's civil war and arrived in Pasadena with their 14-year-old son.
"Even though Dickran, [Hovagimian] and I are from different places,
we're all Armenian so we all grew up eating Turkish
delight," says Sahakian. The soft, chewy candy, which originated in the
Ottoman Empire as early as the 16th century, is widely available
throughout the Middle East and central Europe today.
As a teenager, Sahakian says he often picked up the Nory's walnut
version of the marshmallow-like sweet to make a common Lebanese snack.
"You flatten the locum
between cookies to make something like
s'mores," he says, picking up and pulling a chubby nut-filled square to
demonstrate its flexibility.
He and Jibilian met in 2009 when Sahakian happened upon the shop's "for
sale" listing online. "I think Dickran really wanted someone to buy the
shop who he felt was right for it," Sahakian says.
But candy making was not always in Sahakian's dreams. During the 1990s,
he owned two shoe repair shops in Newport Beach. "I had trained to be a
shoe repairman like my father, but at some point making orthotics wasn't
all that interesting anymore," he says.
Sahakian traded his shoehorns for a candy thermometer shortly after
signing up for cooking classes at Fullerton's Orange County School of
Culinary Arts (now the Culinary Arts Institute). He worked his way
through several hotel kitchens, including the Sofitel in Los Angeles,
before landing a job as the director of food services at Santa Anita
"Working at the racetrack was a really great, fun job until I had kids,"
Sahakian says. "I wanted to spend more time with them." Jibilian's
"for sale" listing came around at just the right time.
This wasn't the type of business transaction that involved handing over a
check in exchange for the front door keys. "I trained under him for
months, following his every move," recalls Sahakian, as he scrapes down
the sides of the copper pot with a metal paint scraper to prevent the
caramelization of the cornstarch-laden sugar syrup.
Nory Candy & Pastry's former owner now stops by the shop weekly to
check on his prodigy. "Dickran comes in, pokes at the candy and says,
'This batch is good, yes, yes,'" says Sahakian, smiling. "He really
treats me like a son."
Sahakian checks the consistency of the simmering syrup and deems it
satisfactory, then adds a few squeezes of bergamot oil from a dropper.
"It's not a smell that many [Americans] know," he says of the bitter
citrus oil, adding that Middle Eastern shops are still his primary
buyers for the traditional locum
flavors such as rose, mint,
licorice and bergamot (the nut varieties are more like a chewy nut
brittle packed with toasted almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios or walnuts).
Once the flavorings have been added, Sahakian pours the syrup into
several wooden trays covered in a thick layer of cornstarch to prevent
the candies from sticking to the trays. They'll be left to set up
overnight, then sliced and given a final dredging in powdered sugar by
his two part-time assistants.
"You really don't know if the batch is 100% successful until you cut it
the next day," says Sahakian, adding that heat and humidity are the
worst culprits of a bad batch. "If it's too gummy, it has no more
delight in it."
The candy's finicky nature persuaded Sahakian to convert the retail area
of the shop into a packing room shortly after he purchased it. "Walk-in
traffic takes too much time today, and I need to be watching the
candy," Sahakian says. Today, the candy is available only online or at
local grocery stores and specialty markets.
Sahakian drops off orders at the post office every day before picking up
his 5-year-old twin girls from school — two time-consuming chores that
he may soon have to hand off to others for more copper caldron time.
Not that Sahakian is complaining. "It's pretty great to get an order
from a teacher in Tennessee whose students have never even tried Turkish
Nory locum is available online at http://www.norylocum.com
and at most Jon's markets in the Los Angeles area.