After Meeting, Local Info

Sweet Christmas from Valencia!

Want it or not Christmas is here at last! Holidays and presents, family and friends, food and drink and… uhm… more food and drink?

Yes! If there’s one single Capital Sin at the core of Christmas that’s Glutony indeed, as families and friends join together around tables to eat and drink far beyond the usual.

As in many countries, Christmas celebrations start over here far before its proper time with work fellows and last until Three Wise Men with children, so that everybody is bound to more than half a dozen record-making celebrations in two weeks, with no real stop in the meantime!

And the top off the cake at all these lavish celebrations all over the world is precisely some sweet that epitomizes Chritsmas in an unique way bringing to life the child even Pavlov’s dog inside of you, just to say: ‘Thank you, not at all… but…’

In France is Bûche de Nöel, in Germany Stollen, in Italy Panettone, in Britain Christmas Pudding, and all over Spain that sweet little thing that suddenly blows your mind bringing Sweet Christmas Time straight alive is

Yes, Turrón or Spanish Nougat, a sweet made of almond, honey and egg whites, so well know all over the world as any of these national traditional Christmas sweets are.

What is not so well known all over the world however is that the vast majority of Turrón consumed in Spain and beyond comes from here, from the Valencian Community, and in particular from the not-so-small city of Jijona in Alicante –arguably the city in which Arabians coined Turrón some five hundred years ago.

Jijona’s industry is able to produce and sell out by itself twenty five millions of Turrón-bricks in one single Chrismas sales campaign in Spain, what amounts to next to one kilogram per home.

That hegemony is so obvious in Spain that both traditional kinds of Turrón were named right after these places: the soft one is called Jijona and the hard one is called Alicante.

But tradition now gathered into Turrón Museum evolved and widened, first with now classic sweet flavours such as chocolat, fruits and yolk, then with more risky even salty proposals –as the ones from Baixas.

Of course Jijona is not the end of the sweet matter over here: now all over Valencian Community every proud confectioner makes its own handcrafted Turrón so that you may find peculiar and/or exquisite Turrón just around the corner –not to mention cooks who are using it lately as a basis for new desserts.

Besides, and even if Turrón is the name of the game, it’s not the only game, and Turrón is in sweet company of marzipans, polvorones, mantecados and many other local even familiar sweets.

Last but not least there are these who –like myself– let tradition a little bit aside and feel happier with some peculiar sweet from some particular confectionary that is his or her lifetime cup of tea.

At Valencia there’re some exquisite ones with legions of Sweet Hooligans so they will be the sweet subject of some further post. In the meantime I hope you have come to see why, after his Spanish Christmas Tour, Santa is…


Pictures |  tim ellis, indieink @ flckr