Turrón is Spain’s sweet nougat that is made for sharing, so make sure you include it in your holiday treats. Taste the best and also the most original turrones that Spain has to offer!
Get ready for indulgence fit for a queen - or a king - this holiday season. Instead of your regular sweet treats, go out on a limb and serve the top turrones that Spain has to offer. From traditional almond to popping candy or mojito flavor - there’s something for all palates.
Turrón - the Spanish nougat - has varying texture and fillings, but its base recipe is toasted almonds, honey, sugar and egg whites. There are several types of turrón; the chewy variety has the designation of origin DO Turrón de Alicante and the softer Turrón de Jijona hails from the Valencia region (both with a seal of approval from each regulatory council). Other recipes call for wafers to add structure, and egg yolks can be put to use in richer styles of turrón, such as yema tostada.
We know almonds are key to Spanish cuisine and especially with sweet food, but what inspired turrón to become dulce español, Spain’s most famous sweet? Several legends surround the history of turrón in Spain. Some say that it was created as a nutritious energy food for the armies, while another claim to its origin comes from a craftsman in Barcelona, who produced an almond-based preserve in times of hunger. The romantic story of Jijona, however, is the most widely celebrated since the 11th century. It’s the tale of an Arab King, Emir Ali of Spain, who married the Scandinavian princess Ilda. The new queen missed her snowy homeland and, one spring, was happy to see their almond trees bloom and cast away snow-colored petals. The king then ordered that almond trees be planted all around his kingdom so that the queen would feel at home. The residents of Jijona began manufacturing turrón from the almonds so that the nuts could be enjoyed all year round. In wintertime, turrón became the toast of the season, and it was called out as a Christmas treat as early as the 16th century.
New and interesting types of turrón are becoming more popular outside of the Jijona and Alicante regions, who favor the classic hard or soft turrón with specific percentages of almonds. The innovative Torrons Vicens incorporate recipes created by chef Albert Adrià for their modern turrones with more unusual flavors. Recent creations include ganache of vermut de Reus, while beer lovers can enjoy a turrón with a hoppy base. This year the Adrià and Andrés flavor of the season is Cherry Times, made with cherry ganache, pecan praline, crisped rice and toffee. What’s more, across the world, turrón is becoming a ‘flavor’ in itself, lending its name and distinctive almond taste to desserts and bakery, such as cheesecake, cookies and ice-cream. Turrón is the Spanish sweet that was made for sharing, so it’s perfect for the holidays!