Turrón, Spain‘s traditional holiday sweet, is as iconic here as the Reyes Magos (Three Wise Men) who bring presents to children each 6 January. Spaniards won’t ask you where you spend Christmas, they will say, “where do you eat your turrón“? If it’s anywhere outside Spain, they may well give you a box to take with you so you don’t miss out. It’s that essential.

is often translated as nougat, which is basically correct, but can be misleading if you are only familiar with the tradition German or Viennese, a very soft concoction of finely ground hazelnuts, cocoa and cocoa butter which melts in your mouth. Expecting something similar, I bit into my very first piece of turrón and nearly broke a tooth. (Actually, it must be said, the two Spanish varieties do come in both hard and soft; the basic ingredients are the same: egg white, honey, sugar and almonds, and the difference in the texture lies in the preparation.)

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