Christmas simply wouldn’t be the same if we didn’t treat ourselves to some confectionery; and with our roots in South America, we’re never ones to shy away from a sweet snack. In this blog, we tell you more about Turrón, talking more about what it actually is, its origins, and why we love it so much, Fazendeiros. (Pssst, we think you might love it too).
What is Turrón?
Turrón is a is a nougat confection that originates in Southern Europe, specifically Spain and Italy. The key ingredient of this treat is almonds, and is often enjoyed throughout the festive period in Spain, Italy and Latin America.
There are actually several different variations, with the most common being the ‘hard’ version, with large pieces of toasted almonds and sometimes other nuts running throughout. This type is delicious, but since it’s very brittle, it’s not for everybody. The other most common variation is ‘soft’, where the almonds are reduced to a paste – oil is added and it creates a smooth, chewy texture that tastes just as fantastic.
It’s sweet yet rich, with the almonds providing a very unique flavour that you won’t ever find in anything else. The fact that there are several versions that exist with many recipes around means there is bound to be a turrón you enjoy.
The name is thought to have derived from the Latin ‘torrere‘ which means ‘to toast’. Food historians believe that it originally came from the Arabic peninsula, with the first recorded reference being in an 11th century document written by an Arab doctor. Turrón is thought to have become widespread in the 15th century, especially in the city of Jijona, north of Alicante.
The popularity of turrón grew pretty quickly, and now you can find it pretty much everywhere, although it is still the most popular in Spain, Italy and South America.
Even though demand has driven most modern day turrón to be mass produced in factories, many companies and factories still make it to traditional recipes, ensuring they preserve the heritage of the confection.
Unsurprisingly, Spain are by far the largest exporters, with South America being the second biggest market – we truly can’t resist it at this time of year. You’ll see it at every table during the festive period back in Argentina.
Nowadays, turrón is one of the most common treats to be offered over Christmas. In 2010, Alicante produced over 15 million tonnes of it! That’s certainly enough to go around.
If you fancy making some for yourself, you can view this great recipe for soft turrón.
Also, if you’d like to learn more about some great Argentinian Christmas traditions, take a look at our blog from last year.