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Although Brooklyn Sesame founder Shahar Shamir had been cooking since he was eight, it wasn’t until after he had a slice of fresh halva during a visit to his native Israel that he thought about making the traditional Mediterranean sweet himself.
Back in Brooklyn, he craved his childhood treat but wanted to indulge in an adult version that reflected his commitment to eating healthy. With a background in professional dancing, Shahar had always paid close attention to the food he ate, avoiding high-fructose corn syrup, refined sugar and highly-processed foods in general.
Since sugar-heavy commercial halva was not an option, he combined the passion of a dancer and the know-how of a cook to experiment with sesame, pure honey and raw almonds until he found the perfect balance of ingredients. The result was a deconstructed, mildly-sweet, spreadable version of halva that was an instant hit at dinner parties. Shahar’s homemade halva became his trademark, with friends even telling him he couldn’t come unless he brought a jar of the luscious communal dessert.
When friends started offering to buy his halva, he recognized the opportunity to introduce his culinary traditions to the Brooklyn food scene and Brooklyn Sesame was born. Shahar began selling the spreads at the Brooklyn Flea and Smorgasburg, and watching the delighted reactions from everyone who tried the products inspired him to expand his business –staying true to his artisanal roots while pursuing his passion for flavor and authenticity.
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