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Not Your Grandmother's Halva: The Humble Sesame Seed Gets a Makeover.

Halva is a curious food. The Middle Eastern confection, which is most commonly made from sesame seeds mixed with honey or sugar, is not exactly sweetat least not by American standardsbut it's certainly not savory either; its texture is one part cotton-candy airiness, one part dense fudge. But for those people who love it, and I count myself among their ranks, these contradictions are precisely what makes halva so beguiling and addictive.

Nathan Radutzky must have felt the same way. When the Jewish immigrant from Kiev, Ukraine, landed in America in the early 20th century, he founded a company that would ultimately become Joyvathe oldest and largest producer of halva in the country. For nearly a century, Joyva has been this country's leader in all things sesame, churning out vast quantities of halva and tahini year after year. But two new startup companiesBrooklyn Sesame and Soom Foods entered the market this year. And together they might just change the way we think about the humble sesame seed.

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Author:Koenig, Leah
Publication:Tablet Magazine
Date:Dec 30, 2013
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