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Turrón is the most well known of Spanish sweets and although it can be enjoyed any time of year, it is particularly famous for its traditional appearance at Christmas time. Spanish children get excited when the first turrón of the season is brought home as it is a signal that Christmas is fast approaching.

The origin of turrón is said to go back over five hundred years when the first example of this gorgeous sweet was first created by the Moors in the small town of Jijona, north of Alicante. Jijona and turrón still go hand in hand today, the town is famous for its production and it is home to the turrón museum where the most famous and expensive brand of turrón, 1880 can be found.

Jijona and Alicante turrón are the most well known types of turrón, named after the location where they were created. Turrón de Alicante is the hard, nougat type, so full of almonds that it would crumble if any more were squeezed in. Turrón de Jijona, sometimes called the original turrón is soft and sticky, a bit like fudge.

The most important ingredients of turrón are honey and almonds and only the finest local examples of both, which are found in abundance in the region of Alicante, go into the very best turrón.

Apart from the Alicante and Jijona turrón, whose recipes have remained unchanged for generations, there are many variations and types. A fairly new but extremely popular type of turrón is the yema tostada where ground almonds and egg yolks are mixed together and toasted to perfection for a soft and sweet treat. There is also the turrón de chocolate which can come in various types ranging from extrafino to popular depending on the percentage of cocoa inside.

Whatever the type of turrón you prefer, the quality is an important factor. The best turrón available is the supreme quality. Producers must abide by strict rules in order to be allowed to label their turrón as supremo, there must be at least 64% of almonds present in the hard Alicante turrón and 60% contained in the soft Jijona turrón.

The perfect way to enjoy turrón is to serve up a selection of samples of each after dinner with a coffee or liqueur. As a treat for the children, crumble a generous amount over soft vanilla ice cream. The Spanish also love having little tasters of the different types of turrón with a glass of cava for a very festive aperitif. It truly is one of Spain's sweet delights to be enjoyed by all whatever the occasion or time of year.

Researched and written by Gayle Hartley

Serrano Ham direct from Spain : www.orceserranohams.com

© Copyright 2008 Orce Serrano Hams - www.orceserranohams.com

Published 21 January 2008

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