Turrón, a soft confectionery made by cooking sugar and honey, adding and kneading in roasted almonds and egg white.
Sweet, with a slight retronasal touch of herbs such as rosemary and thyme coming from the honey, and a slightly smoky, warm taste of noble wood, from the roasting of the almonds. On the nose, the rounded aroma is reminiscent of spice and herbs, such as ginger and cardamom. The viscosity and superficial oiliness of the mixture give a slightly breakable texture. The shape, size and direction of the particles are irregular throughout. When chewed, the mixture is smooth and velvety, reminiscent of peach skin. This is the result of the gumminess and adhesiveness of the mixture on the tongue and the palate. The residual sensation is one of fast breaking up of the mixture and absorption of its components.
A whitish brown, with irregularly distributed grains of almonds roasted to different degrees and varying the product’s natural color. Turrón has the following physical and chemical characteristics:
- Moisture as a percentage of finished product: 5.0 maximum
- Proteins as a percentage of finished product: 11.0 minimum
- Fats as a percentage of finished product: 32.5 minimum
- Ash as a percentage of finished product: 2.2 maximum
The almonds must come from the Valencian Community and its surroundings (south of the Catalonian province of Tarragona, north of the Region of Murcia, the Balearic Islands, province of Albacete, etc.). They must be clean and at least 60% must belong to the Valenciana, Mallorca, Marcona, Mollar and Planeta varieties.
The honey must be pure bees’ rosemary, orange blossom or thousand-flower honey with a minimum of 10% coming from the same areas as the almonds. Rosemary honey is used for its flavor and whiteness on cooking, and orange-blossom honey for the freshness and aroma it gives the end product. Physical, chemical and organoleptic analyses are carried out to ensure the best honey is selected and purchased for making turrón. Normally, granulated sugar is used, preferably as white as possible. Fresh eggs are used to provide semi-liquid yolks and dried whites.
The production process starts with the roasting of the peeled almonds in rotating cylinders over intense heat. A mixture containing the right proportions of sugar and honey is cooked in a turning beater holding up to 50 or 60 kg (110-132 lb), then diluted egg white is added to whiten it. As the moisture evaporates, the right consistency is gradually achieved. The mixture of sugar and honey is called molasses and the amount of cooking needed to reach the soft ball point is one of the best-kept secrets of the turrón producers. After checking the temperature, the beating time and the degree of cooking, the chef takes a sample of the mixture and stretches it to form a thread which he then rolls up and tastes to check that the caramelization is just right. This is when the almonds are added, mixing them in with paddles in synchronized movements and turning over the mixture until they are evenly distributed.
While still hot, the resulting mixture is spread out manually in sheets 1 cm / 0.3 in thick on cooling tables. Once it is cold, the sheets are ground in mills made of granite or other stone. The resulting powder is refined in steel cylinders until the desired, almost fluid texture is obtained.
This is then transferred to a purpose-built tub holding 50 to 60 kg / 110 lb-132 lb called a boixet. About 2 kg( 4,40 lb) of roasted almonds are added and the mixture is then cooked again at a medium temperature. During the cooking it is rhythmically beaten by a mechanical beater inside the tub. After 2½ hours, the almond oil is gradually released and binds with the sugars. The point at which the right degree of compactness and cooking are achieved is called inversion. If the turrón is to be grainy, a second batch of broken, roasted almonds is added and mixed in while the mixture is still hot.
The product is then poured into cases containing about 6 kg / 13.2 lb and left to stand for 24 hours, without covering it with wafers as with other types of turrón. When cold, it is cut into bars and packed. It is presented in rectangular portions weighing from 15 to 90 g / 0.53 – 3.17 oz or from 100 to 700 g / 3.53-24.6 oz.
Jijona is located within the central curve of the province of Alicante, in an area of great geological complexity under the influence of the sub-Betic mountains. The rivers form a number of basins known locally as foias, and Jijona is in one of them.
The relief is mountainous, except in the south-east. The mountains lie from west to east establishing the district’s natural borders. The main ones are Penya Migjorn, and the Carrasqueta and Montagut ranges. The town lies, protected by these mountains, at an altitude of 453 m / 1486 ft above sea level.
The climate is Mediterranean with warm winters and hot summers, and average annual temperatures of 18 to 20ºC / 64-68ºF. The dry climate, with low humidity, is an essential element in turrón production. Maximum rainfall is in autumn, and summer rains are scarce.
Consejo Regulador de las II.GG.PP. Jijona y Turrón de Alicante
C/ Foia de Marti, s/n -Plgo. Industrial El Espartal III
03100 Jijona (Alicante)
Tel: (+34) 965 612 446
Fax: (+34) 965 612 427
Almonds, pure bees’ honey, sugar and egg white.
All year round.
Since 2002, the Regulatory Council has covered only the Supreme quality.