Spanish Turrón. Juan Manuel Sanz/©ICEX
Turrón is a clear example of the Spanish gastronomic inheritance from Arab cuisine. The honey, sugar, almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts and pistachios which the Moors used in large amounts in their pastries continue to be the basic ingredients. Turrón and marzipan are the most typical Christmas confections in Spain, a gastronomic tradition that has persisted for over five centuries, as shown by historical documents recording turrón production in the town of Jijona (Alicante, Valencian Community) in the 16th century.
Jijona in Alicante, where the Moors planted many almond and other fruit trees in the 8th century, is the birthplace of turrón, the ideal location, considering that the local lavender, rosemary and thyme honey already enjoyed an excellent reputation.
Alicante and Jijona, the most Traditional Turrón
Sugar cane was also introduced into Spain by the Moors, but for centuries it was scarce and costly. The fall of Constantinople in 1453 put a stop to sugar imports from the east and led to the development of sugar cane plantations in Valencia and other parts of the east coast. Refineries followed, and the use of sugar became widespread during the 16th century. The increased availability of sugar had a direct influence on the production of turrón and other traditional sweets.
Jijona and Alicante 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.
Other authorized varieties are Valenciana, Mollar and Planeta. The almonds are traditionally used in two different ways. In Alicante-style turrón they are left whole, whereas in the soft Jijona style they are crushed. The Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) Jijona y Turrón de Alicante guarantees the product quality and the use of nothing but the best ingredients.
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.
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. The longstanding tradition of eating turrón at Christmas is behind the very high high level of exports towards European and Latin American countries as well as other destinations where there is a large Spanish community.
List of food stores in Spain
List of food stores around the world
1st (Source: Association of Turrón and Chocolate Companies of the Valencian Community)
|Year||Volume (tons) (*)||Value (thousands of €) (*)|
58 (Source: Alimarket)
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