Macedonian Halvas - Part 1

 

A week ago I was in Thessaloniki ... I was invited by ΑΦΟΙ ΧΑΙΤΟΓΛΟΥ, thru Hill & Knowlton company, to visit the heart of production of Macedonian Halvas.

 
photo with permission by Haitoglou Bros
 

We were welcomed by the wonderful people of Haitoglou Bros and we were offered breakfast containing goodies made from tahini and halvas. Our hosts for the day were Mr.Lefteris Haitoglou, Ms.Stella Tsara and Chef Mr.Nikos Katsanis. All of them were exceptional, hospitable, polite and smiling. Chef had prepared delicious assortments to taste with our coffee, all containing tahini or halva. Cool ... perfect for gaining energy. We've got the chance there to learn how to handle these products when cooking.

 

 

While we were enjoying our coffee and tasting the chef's creations, Mr Haitoglou told us how the company started back in 1924 and what effort it took to get to become big and famous company as it is today.

 

 

A company that is family owned, lists about 300 employees, the plant covers an area of 170,000 s.m., the product range reaches 2000 items with the famous Halva to be the top one and are exported to more than 52 countries.

 

 

Mr Haitoglou confessed that as a child wasn't a fan of halvas but it is now an integral part of everyday life.He told us about the daily control of each batch by himself and for the investments made in the raw material so that the products are always of top quality.

 

 

Informed us for the certified quality control program applied in the industry, both in production and in raw materials. We learned that the primary sesame cleaning does not involve chemicals, and it was something that impressed us but we were left speechless when we were told that the halvas' kneading is done the traditional way, by hand. We could not believe such a thing, until we saw it with our own eyes ... the strong man was kneading 40 kg of halvas at a temperature of around 70C. by hand, removing the hard caramel pieces and creating the right texture. Have you tried hot halvas? We had the fortune and pleasure to "steal" from the mixing bowl and taste the delicious flavor. A taste completely different from what we're used to ! Imagine that people from the team who were not fans of halvas, almost emptied basin (lol).

 

 

As you can understand after our breakfast, we went a tour to the production areas. Of course we were dressed with the necessary robes, caps and shoes (no, I do not have pics of us in that clothing ... oops just remembered ... someone took a picture of mine ... whoever did, send me the photo). It was a wonderful experience to walk around and see the stages from cleaning up the sesame thru to packaging of ready halvas. Seeing the purification of sesame from foreign elements and sorting the best seed for the production. Seeing traditional millstones to be aided by machines for grinding the sesame. Seeing the tahini to flow and take the path onto the various preparations. Watching people working in production to smile and package products methodically.

 
photo with permission by Haitoglou Bros
 

I admit ... I really enjoyed the tour.

 

 

After the tour, we returned to the conference room where a light meal was served. A lunch with Chef Katsanis' creations, with ingredients such as sesame oil and tahini. Of course we discussed the preparation of the dishes before we disappear the content . As for the recipes, will share them with you shortly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our visit at the premises was ended with that gorgeous meal. But an appointment was set for the evening at the restaurant Clochard as guests of Mr Haitoglou. Stay tuned to see the next post with details on how we spent the evening at Clochard !