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Monday, April 27, 2020

Trader Joe's Organic Marbled Halvah

When all this is finally behind us, and if you're then planning to go to Philadelphia for whatever reason, be sure to make a stop at Reading Terminal Market, especially if you've never been. You won't be disappointed.

It's amazing. There's all the Amish vendors selling baked goods, the best pork sandwich you will ever eat, some rather interesting food oddities, and food from across the world, all in a tight, crammed little space. As a bonus, it's only a short and safe walk away from Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, which are naturally pretty darn historic and a bit awe-inspiring as well.

It's also pretty much the only place I knew where to buy halvah.

What's halvah? I had no idea either until Sandy picked some up there on our last trip around Christmas time. It's delicious, is what it is.

And now, of course, perhaps Columbusing halvah to the masses, is good ol' TJ's with Trader Joe's Organic Marbled Halvah. Find it stashed right next to the cash registers for an interesting litle pick up.

So, halvah...okay. Imagine like almond or sunflower seed butter, all dried up into a kinda crispy mass. Now, instead of those, it's tahini, or sesame seed butter. Yup, the same kinda stuff that gets put into hummus, except I guess that might be more oil? Anyways, yeah.

Halvah in general, and TJ's in particular, has an interesting texture. It's firm yet soft, dry yet not arid, chalky yet not crumbly. You can tear yourself a chunk at ease, yet it falls apart nearly instantly when bitten. It's kinda like magic, and that's how a good halvah tastes.

The TJ's type, in comparison, does seem a bit more firm than the couple bites we have left of the "real deal" from Philly. There's more similarity than not, so I'd say it veers towards authentic in terms of texture, but it's not all the way there. Sandy says it more closely tastes like a halvah candy bar which she's had somewhere - seriously, where that girl gets her treats sometimes, I just don't know.

Naturally, there's a zillion varieties. What Sandy got at Reading Terminal was pistachio halvah - tastes like heaven. In comparison, a cocoa vanilla swirl flavor from TJ's is bit not too exotic-y. But I get it. Playing safe with a familiar flavor might be more enticing for the otherwise ignorant shopper (which I fit the mold of more times than not). It's pretty basic chocolate and vanilla too, even a little plain to be honest. I would have loved another flavor, like more pistachio or honey or other traditional flavors.

It's also kinda odd to me the way the TJ's halvah is packaged. There's ten little individually fun size wrapped pieces inside the bag. Seems kinda wasteful, unless you want to be the neighborhood oddball to hoard these to distribute to all the lil Tiger Kings and Carol Baskinses that'll be trick-or-treating this fall (God willing).

Anyways, the halvah's worth the try for the $3 or so. Like other TJ's selections, it just might help you discover something new to enjoy. It's good enough and approximates the real deal close enough, and dangit, I'm a man of many things, and a halvah snob isn't one of them. I'm just hoping for some more flavor variety. Our kiddos didn't seem to enjoy it much so it may be more of a grown up treat, for what it's worth. Between the two of us purported grown ups we'll hit with a seven.

Trader Joe's Organic Marbled Halvah: 7 out of 10 Golden Spoons.


  1. In case anyone is wondering, Sandy gets her treats from the international aisles at our local big box grocery.

  2. Growing up in NYC, we had Joyva Halvah - manufactured in Brooklyn.
    Excellent stuff.

    1. I've been enjoying it close to 40 years. Far better than the trader joes stuff.

  3. Nice vegan snack offering. I think this is just a new experimental product to see if it is popular. Then maybe they would expand to other flavors. Sometimes it's always good start safe then move to other flavors. Pistachio would be nice too. Honey lavender halvah

  4. Genuine halvah is cut from a wheel and wrapped in butcher paper. It has a little chew to the bite and is deliciously greasy from the sesame paste. The best I can hope for is that Trader Joe's will REMIND me of the real deal. It's impossible to get fresh halvah where I live.

  5. if you live in los angeles, pistachio, choc/vanilla marble, 7 layer (includes fudge layer) plus others are available
    at deli section at jons mkts, superking markets, and other
    ethnic grocery stores..been enjoying halvah for decades!

  6. I really disliked these and gave what I had left away. I get Joyva chocolate covered halvah in Austin. So much tastier.


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