Turrón might be as precious to the Spanish as the noble metal, but it is definitely not as rare. More than one kilogram of the white sweet does every Spaniard eat during the pre-Christmas season. In December, you can find it pretty much anywhere across the country, either homemade at market stands and bakeries or industrially produced in supermarkets.
Turrón is a type of white nougat in which almonds, honey, sugar and egg white make up the basic ingredients. The nutty sweet, that people in Spain traditionally eat for Christmas, usually comes in small, lengthy bars. There are two types of Turrón – Duro and Blando. While they both contain almonds, they are easily distinguishable by their texture.
Turrón Duro, also common as Torró d’Alacant, is a hard version which is most popular in the region of Galicia. In this case, the firm mixture of honey, sugar and egg white contains whole almonds and is sometimes covered in white wafers. If you aren’t the biggest fan of hard and chewy candy bars that pull out your tooth fillings, Turrón Blando might be the better choice. The nougat, that also goes by the name of Torró de Xixona, is as soft as butter and especially popular in Andalusia. This original version comes in a white or beige color – hence the nickname of “white gold”.
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Apart from these classic versions, there are countless variations to cater for all tastes. Among these, the most popular ones are Turrón de Yema with a marzipan-like texture, Turrón de Chocolate, Turrón de Fruta with candied fruits or Turrón de Cacahuete in which peanuts substitute the almonds.
Where does Turrón originally come from?
The concept of Turrón dates back many centuries. Allegedly, even in ancient Greece, there was a similar sweet that athletes would eat during the competitions in Olympia. The paste of nuts, almonds and honey was supposed to provide them with the strength and power needed to give their all in the contest.
The traditional Spanish candy bar, however, stems from the Arab region. The Moors brought it to the Iberian Peninsula where it has been produced since the 16th century, if not earlier. Both the city of Alicante as well as the mountain village of Xixona claim to be the origin of the delicious sweet in Spain. And while the truth is ambiguous, it is obvious that both places are true Turrón meccas. Rumor has it that during Christmas season, the municipality of Alicante even partly pays the wages with the chewy bars!
Even in the traditional Christmas tale, Turrón plays a crucial role in Spain. In contrast to most other Christian countries where Santa Claus brings the presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, it is the Three Kings that surprise Spanish kids on January 6th. On route to Jesus’ crib in Bethlehem, they leave gifts for the little ones in front of the door. As a gesture of appreciation, the Three Wise Men find a tray of sugared almonds, three glasses of sweet wine and Turrón on the doorstep.
Since Turrón has become increasingly popular beyond Spain’s borders, chances are that you might find it at your local supermarket. If you don’t have any luck with that, there is no need to miss out on the traditional Spanish deliciousness. Check out or easy recipe below and simply make a batch of the nougat bars yourself. We guarantee that your family and friends will love the Christmas treat!
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