Barcelona Skyline

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Sweet Christmas in Barcelona

Sure "Turrones" are available all year round. Spaniards eat 35, 000 tons of them every year after all. But Christmas is the real "turrón season": a full 85% of this tonnage is consumed and a whole lot more is exported.
The Christmas turron is no new fad; it has the authenticity that only centuries of tradition can bestow. In 1492 the last vestige of Muslin Spain, Granada, fell. The whole Iberian peninsula was once again Christian and the musicians who sang at the celebration were paid with turrones, not money.
In 1541, the great Lope de Vega wrote a play whose plot revolves around a master who must berate his servant for eating a pound of his Christmas turron, which he has left on his desk.
In the 16th Century the oldest extant recipe for turrons was recorded in the anonymous "Manual de Mujeres".
So, what are these "turrones" and how are they made? They are basucally a kind of nougat which comes in hard and soft bars. But they are not the kind of nougat that finds its way into candy bars in the UK, the USA, and all around Europe. They are made in the old artesian way: the "pasta" is crafted with honey, sugar, egg and toasted almonds. The soft ones are milled and pulverized before packaging.
Barcelona us one of the great centers of "turrones" and we all have our favorite place to buy them. Near the Hotel Principal you have some iconic stores, like "Casa Colomina" or "José Planelles", both at the Portal del Angel.

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