The halva of Farsala

Pharsala is a city in eastern Thessaly and is famous as it was the site of the famous
battle between the forces of Julius Caesar and Pompey. At the same time, the most
famous local product of the city of Farsala is halva.
The name etymologically comes from the Arabic word hulw, which means sweet.
It is found in various variations in appearance and texture throughout the countries
of the Balkans, the Mediterranean and the Middle East. We do not know the precise
time of introduction to Greece (probably at the end of the 12th century) but it
definitely corresponds to the years of the Turkish rule in the area of Thessaly. In the
will of the conqueror of Thessaly, Turhan Bey (1446), the workshops of Halil, Isa and
Siachi in Larissa, a city near Farsala, are mentioned.
It is the traditional sweet of Farsala. Already at the beginning of the 19th century,
Farsala is famous for its halva, so that a type of halva, “soap” is called “Farsalian
halva”. In 1817, Ioannis Oikonomou – mentions in praise the Halva of Farsala,
considering it the most valuable in all of Thessaly. a In addition, in 1897, the
archaeologist Alexandros Filadelfeus mentions that Farsala is “better known and
more famous, for their tastiest and most honeyed halva, which is the most beautiful
and wonderful in all of Greece”.
In Farsala, five types of halva were initially made: a) “pirints”, with ground rice and
sugar, b) “kommat”, hard, white, in pieces like Turkish delight, which was sold
exclusively and only at the August bazaar (until 1960, c) “sesame”, from sesame or
stragalia, starch and sugar, d) “asute”, which was tasty, but difficult to preserve (the
manufacture of “sesame” and “asute” is not witnessed later in 1920), and finally e)
the famous “soap”, which was made with butter and which is known as “Farsala
The excellent quality of the raw materials (sugar, almonds, starches, goat and
sheep butter), the equipment and the skill of the experienced craftsman are the
main characteristics in the production of halva, whose name was inextricably linked
with the historical course of the region. The caramelized crust from the syrup and the
mixing of the butter with the starch inside the walls of the hot copper cauldron forms
a thick mixture, which is transferred to a pan (pan) to cool and solidify (± 12 hours).
The gradual boiling in the pan leaves grooves in the bottom and is placed upside
down with the crust on top. No preservatives are used.
Its production industries were small family businesses and employed all family
members. With the passage of time and the development of technology, important
changes are identified such as the replacement of wood as fuel with gas and
modernized laboratories.
The economic and commercial life of the region is intertwined with the
production of halva. Its increased production and distribution in the 1960s-70s is
connected to the Athens-Thessaloniki national road with a stop in Farsala. Back then,
the laboratories worked 24 hours a day to serve customers. On the contrary, the
construction of the new National Road led to a gradual crisis and withering of the
economic prosperity of the region without, however, ever altering its reputation,
quality and taste.
Every year, the municipality of Farsala organizes the annual “Halva Festival” with
the ultimate goal of promoting and promoting local products (pasta, honey, tsipouro,
lentils, peanuts) and the extroversion of local businesses.

National community center “Izgrev-1930”  Bulgaria

Manisa Valiligi  Turkey

MAKGED  Turkey