Jijona nougat, also known as "turrón de Jijona", is one of the Christmas desserts par excellence in Spain. Read on to find out what its ingredients are and discover the origins of this typical Spanish sweet.
What is Jijona nougat?
Jijona nougat is a sweet made with ground almonds, honey and egg white, which makes it softer than other nougats. For this reason it is also known as soft nougat. Jijona nougat is named after the town in Alicante where its production began, although today it is produced in many other Spanish regions.
The great secret of Jijona nougat is the marcona almond. This almond grown in Spain is characterised by being rich in oil, which gives the soft nougat its characteristic texture. It is a very expensive variety and even difficult to find in large quantities. It is a small, round almond that requires a specific climate for its production, Alicante being its favourite area.
Origin of Jijona nougat
There is evidence that this sweet was already being made in the ancient town of Sexona (today's Jijona) in the 16th century. Although it was much earlier when the Arabs introduced sweets made with almonds and honey to the Iberian Peninsula.
It is also thought that in Greek times a paste was already being made with nuts and honey as a base. This sweet was used by Greek sportsmen and sportswomen as a source of energy when taking part in the Olympic Games.
What is clear is that the production of nougat was an excellent way of preserving almonds in good condition for a long time, being an excellent food to take on long journeys, as it hardly deteriorated and concentrated a high nutritional value in a small space.