A type of sweet treat, or sweetmeat
(a small piece of something sweet), popular among the Jewish populations of Middle Eastern and Balkan countries. It is most often prepared with a paste made of sesame seeds that is combined with honey or sugar; then it is pressed into bars of varying lengths or shapes, or occasionally it is molded into specific forms, such as birds or fish. Other flavorings, such as nuts, dried fruits, spices, or chocolate, are often added. Rosewater, date syrup, or even pureed carrots, are other ingredients that are occasionally favored.
There are many variations on the basic recipe depending on the region of the world where the halva is prepared. Some varieties contain semolina instead of the sesame paste while others may contain vegetable, fruit, or flour pastes. A combination of syrup that has been solidified and cooked eggs is another variety that is prepared. Halva, also spelled halvah, is a common item found in Jewish delicatessens.