(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) No festival is complete without food and no food is complete without sweets. And when we speak about sweets, nothing can be better than Omani halwa - a delicacy that is not to be missed when you are at Muscat Festival venues.
With the February chill still in the air, one can smell aroma of hot and fresh Omani halwa from a distance at Naseem Garden.
A halwa maker's stall is already buzzing with eager buyers who are desperate to catch hold of the sweet once it's ready to be served. A man can be seen stirring a copper pot with a ladle to prepare halwa over a traditional wood-fired oven.
Twenty something Ahmed Abdullah al Riyami who hails from the wilayat of Samail. He says that his family started this halwa-making business centuries ago. It is a legacy that has been passed on from one generation to the next. He calls his shop Alfaiha factory for Omani halwa'. ''My ancestors started this business centuries ago. It is very traditional. My father once told me that halwa originated thousands of years ago in Oman.
''My forefathers used to prepare it with hands but now we have a factory. We take part in Muscat Festival every year. The response has been always good. People love our halwa,'' Riyami says.
Sharing his traditional recipe, Riyami adds, ''We mainly use sugar, oil, water, coconut, brown sugar, saffron and rose water from Jebel Akhdar. We then add cashew powder and let the ingredients boil with flour. The halwa is cooked on a medium flame over two hours. My brothers and cousins take turns to stir it. After a while the halwa starts turning brown.''
Riyami says the halwa is then poured into a steel bowl. ''One of us then transfers the piping hot halwa bowl onto a stand where the base is filled with cold water. Most of our customers demand hot and fresh halwa. Apart from eating on the spot, they also take halwa parcels for their near and dear ones. The halwa is sold for RO3 per kg. Our stall sells at least 600kg a da