Food & dining

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Artisanal melt-in-your-mouth candy at Halvah Heaven

It’s not easy to come up with a food product no one’s done before, but Victoria Wallins believes she’s got it: “I don’t think anyone else in this country is making artisanal small-batch halvah,” says the Sherborn resident, who owned a Wellesley clothing boutique before launching Halvah Heaven. Gourmet chocolate bars had been done to death, she figured, as she cast about for a project after closing her shop last June. The sesame-paste confection, popular throughout the Middle East, was a new frontier. One commercial manufacturer told Wallins it was impossible to make the finicky candy on a small scale. That only strengthened her resolve and sent her into the kitchen.

Many batches of halvah later — “It’s been trial and error, with lots of error,” says Wallins — she’s got the formula down, capturing the delicate (but rich), crumbly (but not dry), melt-in-your-mouth texture that is halvah’s hallmark, in sophisticated flavors like cardamom, anise-rosemary, and Earl Grey. Marketing the unfamiliar treat presents another challenge. Pitching her wares at farmers’ markets, Wallins sometimes finds shoppers who have never even heard of halvah. “This is a very small market,” she says. “Tiny. But I’ve got it all to myself.”

Halvah Heaven will be at the farmers’ market in Wayland on Feb. 28, at Natick on March 8. For more information, go to Halvah Heaven’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/halvahheaven.

JANE DORNBUSCH