This sweet nougat made of almonds, honey sugar and egg white, is one of the most traditional desserts eaten at Christmas in Spain. It is of Arabic origin and was introduced in Spain over 500 years ago by the Moors. It is produced in the town of Jijona, 30 miles to the north of Alicante. The area’s economy is based on the manufacture of turrón and there is even a museum of turrón.
Turrón is produced in this area because the wild flowers on the mountains surrounding Jijona allow mountain bees to produce rich honey, a key ingredient. Along with honey, almonds from local orchards allow the “turroneros” to make this delicious artisan sweet.
Turrón duro (Hard nougat): The almonds are roasted, chopped then mixed with honey. It is then heated whilst stirring constantly. Egg white is then added to bind it together and then it is left to cool. It is then cut into pieces, wrapped in sugar paper and then packaged.
Turrón blando (Soft nougat): This type takes more work. After the turrón duro has cooled, the pieces are ground up with almond oil to make a sticky paste which is reheated and beaten for hours to form a soft mixture. Egg white is added to bind it together and it is left to cool before being cut into tablets.
There are two main types of turrón; (1) turrón de Jijona or turrón blando, which has a soft, peanut butter-like texture, known for its golden colour and (2) turrón de Alicante or turrón duro, which is a harder version made with whole almonds.
However, nowadays, there are many types of turrón flavours including; chocolate praline, strawberry mousse, blueberries and cheese, lemon, caramel, some include dried fruits or nuts.
The best quality: Suprema: To be classed as “Suprema”, the soft turrón must contain at least 60% almonds and the hard variety 64% almonds. Other varieties include; “Extra”, “Estándar” (Standard) or “Popular”.
As well as from speciality food stores you can order turrón online from:
The Tapas Lunch Company
Melbury & Appleton