Jijona nougat, also known as soft nougat, is one of the most popular Christmas sweets in Spain. Read on to learn the ingredients and discover the origins of this typically Spanish sweet.
What is Jijona nougat?
Jijona nougat is a candy made from ground almonds, honey and egg white, making it softer than other types of nougat. For this reason it is also known as soft nougat. Jijona nougat is named after the city in Alicante where its production began, although today it is also produced in many other Spanish regions.
The big secret of Jijona nougat is the Marcona almond. This almond grown in Spain is characterized by its high oil content, which gives the soft nougat its characteristic texture. It is a very expensive strain and difficult to find, even in large quantities. It is a small, round almond that needs a particular climate to grow, Alicante being its preferred growing area.
Origin of Jijona nougat
There is evidence that this sweet was made in the old town of Sexona (now Jijona) as early as the 16th century. Although the Arabs introduced sweets made from almonds and honey to the Iberian Peninsula much earlier.
It is also believed that a paste made from nuts and honey was made as early as Greek times. This sweet was used by Greek athletes at the Olympic Games as a source of energy.
It is clear that making nougat was an excellent way of preserving almonds in optimal condition for a long time, too as they were such excellent food for long journeys. They hardly spoil as nougat and have a very high nutritional value, and all that in a very compact format.