It is an urban legend that the taste of the halwa in Tirunelveli cannot be replicated anywhere else because of the unique properties of the water which goes into the making of the halwa. The water here is said to have traces of copper which apparently lent its name to the river Thamirabarani (copper in Tamil is thamiram) that flows through Tirunelveli.
The Special Halwa is a richer and nuttier version of the Tirunelveli halwa. Prepared with strict adherence to traditional methods of making halwa that have been passed down generations, the halwa is prepared even today in massive pots placed over firewood and bricks. While many establishments in the city blend Vanaspati with ghee to keep costs at a minimum, the special halwa is made with unadulterated ghee, making for a sumptuous miniature feast in itself. The halwa also has hints of cardamom and comes studded with creamy cashew nuts.
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