Turrón – Tempting Sweets in Catalonia and Spain
Turrón is a centuries-old confection, typically made from honey, sugar and almonds and shaped into large rectangular tablets. Turrón has done more than endure the test of time: it has flourished. Nonetheless, companies are striving to get Spaniards and foreigners to see turrón as more than a Christmas sweet by promoting new varieties and innovative gastronomic applications.
Nowadays, turrón (spansih nougat) might be made with a variety of toasted nuts, such as almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts, pine nuts and walnuts; or incorporate things like candied fruit, chocolate, caramelized yema (egg yolk), marzipan, liquor and sesame seeds, among others.
Its texture can be hard, soft, crunchy, crumbly or creamy, and even the shapes and sizes of certain formats are evolving from the traditional rectangular tablets or round tortas to new smaller portions. Given this variability, coming up with a working definition for turrón seems pretty daunting. There are, however, three specific kinds of turrón that have been designated with a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI): Alicante, Jijona and the catalan Agramunt turrón. This designation not only recognizes the quality of these products, but also their geographic, cultural and historic ties to the places they are made and the ingredients used in their confection.
Turrón is eaten all year round but is still the heart and soul of Spanish Christmas season
Many would say that turrón is the heart and soul of the Spanish Christmas season, but now a days Turrón is eaten all year round in most Spanish homes. And we fully understand why! It taste fabulous and is one of those things you need to find room for in your suitcase, when you have been in Catalonia.
Turrón is a clear example of the Spanish gastronomic inheritance from the Arab cuisine. Turrón is made from honey, sugar, roast almonds and egg whites, following recipes that are over 500 years old. The almonds used are generally of the native Marcona variety, considered one of the best in the world. They are smooth, moist, and flavorsome and are widely used in patisserie.
Turrón from Agramunt and other Types of Turrón
A variety that is highly prized in Catalonia is the traditional turrón from Agramunt in the province of Lleida - gold, sweet and crunchy. It is sold in disc form or as rectangular bars in two versions - almond or hazelnut - and is covered by the PGI Turrón de Agramunt.
In the hard Alicante-style turrón the almonds are left whole, whereas in the soft Jijona (or Xixona) style (also called Turró blando) they are crushed and the Turrón has the smooth consistency of peanut butter. Alongside these traditional varieties, many others have been developed in recent years – with truffle and chocolate, fruit, liqueurs or egg yolk – all of which have become very popular. Turrón and marzipan are the most typical Christmas confections in Spain, a gastronomic tradition that has persisted for over five centuries.
You can buy your Turrón in any supermarket year round, but we recommend that you buy your Turrón in one of the many historical Turrón shops in for example Barcelona. It is a bit more expensive, but it simply taste sooo much better.