Halva is an acquired taste – I’ve never successfully convinced anyone who’s not had it before that it is nice, despite my efforts. I think it’s the uneasy marriage of bitter and slightly sickly. Last night I was wandering about a local shop looking for ricotta (nothing doing) when I stumbled across this – Helva’m produced by Sebahat. I had to buy some, I liked the shape of the container. It excited me to think I could possess it and have it in my house FOR ALL TIME.I got home and had a bit, as an appetiser before my wonderfully healthy dinner of tiger prawns, broccoli and asparagus (which I later spoiled, condiment wise, by mistaking the balsamic vinegar for the soy sauce. Aciiid!). But back to the helva. Halva. Whatever. It looked like Nutella. I dug down into it a bit expecting some beige strata at some point, but it was Nutella-y all the way down (usually when I eat  halva I like to pretend I am on Time Team, excavating a site. With a teaspoon). It tasted like Nutella without the hazelnuts – ie dull. Just plain Ella. I could just about get a hint of the sesame tones of halva, but very faintly. I am quite capable of eating stupid amounts of almost anything, often regardless of taste, but I couldn’t really see a point in continuing to eat the Helva’m.

It wasn’t the taste that finally stopped me, mind you – it was the consistency. You know how Nutella is spreadable, in a way that means however much you want to to eat it straight from the glass, you feel compelled to employ a bready mediator for the sake of decency? That’s a good thing. It’s useful to be able to spread spread. The picture on the Helva’m tub suggests a similar spreading fate for its contents, but the consistency is like a thick clay. You’d have to melt this stuff before it would spread evenly, and even then I’m not convinced it would work. So I figured it was meant to be eaten from the tub, because who’d be crazy enough to melt this stuff down each time they wanted a snack?! (Well, I say ‘I figured’; I was actually too lazy to bother doing anything else). I found myself having to bite the stuff off the spoon, which is not the intended consumption technique for spoons – I tried licking it, but the damn stuff was practically waterproof, like slightly softer plasticine. Once in my mouth it took a lot of mastication to get it to unstick from my palate. My neck muscles actually ached trying to swallow a spoonful. Then I got a headache. So, er, thanks Sebahat, for ruining halva for me. The name even connotes hesitation if you squint a bit – Helva?  Um ……no thanks.

Helva’m tastes of very little, is waterproof and incredibly sticky. I think I’m going to grout the bathroom with it.