Nougat is a sweet dough obtained by cooking honey and roasted almonds, the recipes of which have been maintained over the centuries and which play a fundamental role in certain festivities in Spain.
Nougat is a sweet dough generated from nuts and honey that occupies a fundamental position in Spanish gastronomy. Nougat is very present in the Christmas festivities. Meals are closed with him and exchanged as a gift. With a tradition that accompanies us until today, and it is that this product has not undergone, in Spain, great changes in its production or format since records were found in the 15th century.
With ingredients that have accompanied man for millennia, such as almonds and honey, their non-perishable nature and energy value, it is not surprising that the combination of both could have occurred in more than one moment in the history of mankind. And it is that records of a primitive form of nougat have been found in various cultures.
In Greece it was used as food for Olympic athletes. Also in regions of North Africa it was used as food for soldiers who made long voyages in boats. It is uncertain to mark a clear origin, but regarding its entry into the Iberian Peninsula, there is a strong current of thought that is attributed to Al-Andalus.
The culture in Muslim countries has a gastronomy in which both nuts and honey are very present. We can understand that one of the largest ports in Al-Andalus was in the Spanish east. It is here where we find the most recognized nougat tradition in Spain, in Jijona (Alicante) with its homonymous recipes.
There are guidelines and legal protection for the production and marketing of nougat. Thus, systems similar to those that have accompanied us in previous centuries have been maintained. Even today, with the advancement and sophistication of the media, we can appreciate that the nougat making process has remained faithful to traditions and artisan recipes. We can say that there is a large production of artisan nougat that still maintains that mechanical and not chemical process in its preparation.
On the other hand, we find that 2 of the longest-lived recipes are still among the most popular:
- Alicante nougat or hard. Made from honey, peeled almonds and egg white and presented between wafers. Crunchy with a hard texture.
- Jijona or soft nougat. With several grinding processes and with a more honeyed texture than the rest of nougats. Made with honey, egg white, and marcona almonds.
There are many other types of nougat and new and more daring flavors appear every year such as rice pudding, Catalan cream, rum with raisins, etc. that already belong to the so-called pralines. It is not uncommon to find these in Christmas baskets and in gifts that are exchanged at parties.
There are such as peanut, rice and chocolate nougat that do have an acceptance and consumption with a longer and shorter duration. On the other hand, many are launched on the market and we can still wait to see which ones have come to stay and which ones will not pass their first campaigns.