When a trip back to Shahar Shamir's native Israel induced a hankering for halva, he got straight to work.
None of the industrial halvas available for purchase met this former dancer's exacting nutritonal standards, so he experimented by toasting and hand-grinding sesame seeds and then twirling in a touch of raw honey.
His work led to a spread that was sweet fodder at dinner parties. The resulting ecstatic reviews from his friends led to his new business, Brooklyn Sesame.
Grab a spoon | Shahar Shamir
Shamir still makes his halva spread the same way--but now you don't have to attend one of his dinner parties to get your paws on a jar.
Find him selling his sultry confection spiked with pistachios, toasted coconut or raw almonds ($12 to $14 for 8 ounces) on Saturdays at the Brooklyn Flea in Fort Greene, on Sundays at Smorgasburg in Dumbo and online at Mouth.
The spread, which is the consistency of peanut butter, is a welcome departure from the more traditional cooked halvas--crumbly and dry in texture--that are a staple of any Mediterranean kitchen.
When we asked Shamir about his favorite way to eat his spread, he shot back, "you'll probably end up snacking it straight from the jar."
The spread is a knockout with cheeses, as a cookie filling or lacquered onto toast, but Shamir speaks the truth--it's damn fine by the spoonful, too.
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