MANY a Spaniard enjoys tucking into the festive treat of turron which can challenge the strongest teeth and best dentures!
Turrons are a nougat-like confection, typically made of honey, sugar, and egg white, with toasted almonds or other nuts.
They are usually shaped into either a rectangular tablet or a round cake.
Dating back to at least the 1400s, but possibly much further to Roman times, it is a traditional Christmas dessert in Spain as well as countries formerly under the Spanish Empire, particularly in Latin America.
Alicante Province is one of Spain’s key turron-making areas with a big factory in Jijona which incorporates a museum and a visitor tour.
Spain exports the snack mainly to France, Portugal and Andorra with some interest as well from the US.
Turron bars can be found mixed with peanuts, candied fruits or chocolate and can range from bite- sized treats for children to exclusive high end truffles.
Jijona turron is not as hard as other versions and the almonds are made into a paste resulting in a chewy and sticky turron.
There is also a ‘hard’ Alicante version consisting of 60% almonds.
The Alicante and Jijona turrons have ‘protected status’ under European Union laws.
That also applies to a third version called Torro d’Agramunt manufactured in the Lleida area of Catalunya.
Alicante Provincial Council has sent a submission to the United Nations for an officially-recognised ‘ World Turron Day’.
The regional authority says it is about ‘making the strengths of turron more visible in an international context’.
It also wants to ‘highlight the social, cultural, tourist and economic positives associated with nougat from Jijona and Alicante’.
Another way of generating some turron publicity are regular world record attempts.
In September, Roberto Pico made a 56 metre-long bar that beat a previous record by a metre at the Alicante Gastronomy Fair.
Pico worked for a week to make the bar which included 270 kilos of almonds, egg whites and honey.