Turrón of Alicante type
|Alternative name(s)||Torró, torrone, torrão, turon, nougat|
|Main ingredient(s)||Honey, sugar, egg whites, almonds or other nuts|
Turrón (Spanish: [tuˈron]), torró (Catalan: [tuˈro], [toˈro]), torrone (Italian: [torˈrone], Brazilian Portuguese: [toˈʁoni]), torrão (European Portuguese: [tuˈʁɐ̃w]), turon (Tagalog: [tuˈɾon]) or nougat is a confection, typically made of honey, sugar, and egg white, with toasted almonds or other nuts, and usually shaped into either a rectangular tablet or a round cake. It is frequently consumed as a traditional Christmas dessert in Spain and Italy. There are also some varieties in Latin America and the Philippines. In other countries it often appears, sometimes chocolate-coated, in a mixed box of chocolates.
The 16th-century Manual de Mujeres (Women's handbook), a handbook of recipes for cosmetics and some foodstuffs, has what is probably the oldest extant Spanish turrón recipe. It calls for honey and some egg whites, cooked until it becomes breakable once cooled. Once the honey is caramelized the recipe suggests adding pine nuts, almonds or hazelnuts, peeled and roasted. The mix is then cooked a bit further, and finally removed from the heat and cut into slices.
All versions of the name appear to have been derived from Latin torrere (to toast). The actual confection might have been derived from the cuisine of Iberian Muslims during the Christian reconquest of Spain, as they had a similar dessert named turun. One may also point to a similar confection named cupedia or cupeto that was marketed in Ancient Rome and noted by Roman poets. In the southern Italian region of Sannio production of Torrone dates back to at least the 4th century BC.
Turrón or Torró has been known at least since the 15th century in the city of Jijona/Xixona (formerly Sexona), north of Alicante. The similar Torrone is typical of Bagnara, Taurianova, Benevento and Cremona in Italy. Turrón is commonly consumed in most of Spain, some countries of Latin America, and in Roussillon (France). There are similar confections made in the Philippines.
Variations are found in several regions of the northern Mediterranean.
Turrón itself can take on a variety of consistencies and appearances, however they traditionally consisted of the same ingredients; the final product may be either hard and crunchy, or soft and chewy. Thirty years ago almost all turrón recipes followed the same specifications, but since the diversification of products there are currently dozens of varieties: chocolate with puffed rice or whole almonds; all kinds of chocolate pralines, with or without liquor, candied fruits or whole nuts; fruit pralines; and even sugarless variations (sweetened with fructose or artificial sweeteners).
Spanish turrón may be roughly classified as:
- Hard (the Alicante variety): A compact block of whole almonds in a brittle mass of eggs, honey and sugar; 60% almonds.
- Soft (the Jijona variety): Similar but the almonds are reduced to a paste. The addition of oil makes the matrix more chewy and sticky; 64% almonds.
Torrone is a traditional winter and Christmas confection in Italy and many varieties exist. Traditional versions from Cremona, Lombardy, range widely in texture (morbido, soft and chewy, to duro, hard and brittle) and in flavor (with various citrus flavorings, vanilla, etc., added to the nougat) and may contain whole hazelnuts, almonds and pistachios or only have nut meal added to the nougat. Some commercial versions are dipped in chocolate. The popular recipes have varied with time and differ from one region to the next. Torrone di Benevento from Benevento, Campania, sometimes goes by the historic name Cupedia, which signifies the crumbly version made with hazelnuts. The softer version is made with almonds. Although originally resembling sticky paste, it now differs only marginally from the varieties of Torrone di Cremona. Abruzzo, Sicily and Sardinia also have local versions that may be slightly distinct from the two main denominations from Lombardy and Campania. The following information is printed on boxes of torrone distributed by Ferrara Foods, West Deptford, NJ 08086.
- In Cremona, Italy in 1441...at the wedding celebration of Francesco Sforza to Bianca Maria Visconti, the buffet featured a delicious sweet made of nutmeats, honey and egg whites. It was fashioned in the shape of the famous tower of Cremona known as "Torrazzo", hence the name Torrone.
In Peruvian cuisine turrón generally is soft and may be flavored with anise. Is another originally Spanish dessert; the original Spanish recipe, which contained ingredients that were rare or expensive in Peru (such as almonds, rose water, orange blossom water, honey) were modified in a variety of ways. One common variety found in Lima is Turrón de Doña Pepa, an anise and honey nougat that is traditionally prepared for the Señor de los Milagros (or Lord of Miracles) religious procession, during October.
Cashew turrón (Philippine Spanish: turrones de casúy; Spanish: turrones de anacardo) from Pampanga Province is a derivative. It is a bar of marzipan made with cashew nuts, and wrapped in a white wafer. Unlike the rest of Hispanidad, this candy is not associated with the holiday season. Another derivative is the turrones de pili, made using the native pili nut.
Central European candy
A confectionery similar to the hard variety of the Spanish turrón and Italian torrone is produced in various Central European countries under names that literally translate to "Turkish honey".
Various types of Turrón/Torrone that have Protected Geographical Status under EU law include:
- Xixona (PGI) (Valencian Community)
- Torró d'Alacant (PGI) (Valencian Community)
- Torró d'Agramunt (PGI) (Catalonia)
Others, such as Torrone di Cremona (Italy) have protected status by (but not limited to) the country that produces it.
- "Manual de mujeres en el cual se contienen muchas y diversas recetas muy buenas". Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes. Retrieved 2010-01-19.
- "Torrone di Cremona IGP". Academia Barilla. Retrieved 2011-02-23.
- "Torrone di Benevento". Regione Campania-Assessorato all'Agricoltura. Retrieved 2011-02-23.
- Mario De Simone. "Il vero torrone -- napoletano". Edizioni Pubblicità Italia. Retrieved 2011-02-23.
- "Il torrone di Benevento". Retrieved 2011-02-23.
- "Dolcezze beneventane". Corriere DemoEtnoAntropologico. Retrieved 2011-02-23.
- "Torrone". Gruppo Virtuale Cuochi Italiani. Retrieved 2011-02-23.
- EU Profile - Xixona (07/06/2009)
- EU Profile - Torró d'Alacant (07/06/2009)
- EU Profile - Torró d'Agramunt (07/06/2009)
- Foods from Spain. Turrón (Spanish Nougat), Sweet Arab Heritage
- (Spanish) Regulatory Council for Jijona and Alicante varieties