Sephardic families are known for their tradition of hospitality toward friends, neighbors, and even strangers. During Tu b’Shevat, some Turkish Jews prepare a special dessert called trigo koço. “Trigo” means “wheat” in Spanish. This sweet wheat berry dish originated in the Middle East, and traveled with the Jews to Spain. Following the expulsion from Spain in 1492, the Jews took it with them to the Ottoman Empire. To this day, every guest who stops by for a Tu b’Shevat visit at their home is offered a bowl of trigo koço with a cup of hot mint tea.
- 1 1/4 cup wheat berries
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tbsp. orange blossom water
- 2 tbsp. rose water
- 1 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
- Pour the wheat berries and 4 cups of water into a heavy pot.
- Bring the water to a boil, and then lower the flame.
- Allow the wheat to simmer for 1 hour.
- Turn off the heat, and stir in the sugar, cinnamon, orange blossom water, and rose water.
- Serve garnished with walnuts.