Sweet mysteries: The nutty origins of El Turrón

Sweet mysteries: The nutty origins of El Turrón.

Sweet mysteries: The nutty origins of El Turrón. Image: Alicante City & Beach.

The exact origins of El Turrón (nougat) are uncertain and, contrary to popular belief, it did not originate in Italy.

It is widely accepted that nougat, a traditional Christmas sweet, has its routes somewhere in the Mediterranean basin.

There are many stories about the history of nougat.

Nougat History

Some say it comes from a Barcelona pastry chef named ‘Turró’, others from an Arab cooking contest, and even a Scandinavian princess’s recipe.

Various cultures have claimed to have invented it, and throughout history, nougat has made its mark on global gastronomy, sweetening palaces across continents.

Nougat is the quintessential sweet of Alicante, known for its exquisite, artisanal production.

Denomination of Origen

For Nougat to qualify for the Denomination of Origin (D.O.) of Nougat from Alicante and Jijona, it must contain at least 60 per cent almonds and 10 per cent honey.

The production of Alicante nougat begins with toasting dried almonds in rotating drums.

Once toasted to the desired level, diluted egg white is added as a whitening agent to achieve the ‘ballpoint’.

Honey, sourced from the Valencian Community, is heated and mixed with the toasted almonds, with the mixture being stirred using shovels.

This dough is then poured into moulds lined with wafers, also known as “angel bread.”

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Written by

Anna Ellis

Originally from Derbyshire, UK, Anna has lived in the middle of nowhere on the Costa Blanca for 20 years.