Christmas Turrón in Spain

“Christmas is coming and the geese are getting fat”, according to the old saying.
Well, they certainly will if they stuff all the turrón that is piling up in the shops ready for Christmas!!

Everywhere you go now the shelves are piled high with slabs and packets of delicious turrón, the result of the year’s almond harvest.

Turron bars in supermarket
Turron bars

What is Turrón?

Turrón is an ancient traditional sweet from the Moorish times,  and is thought to originally have been made just north of Alicante in a small town called Jijona.

Typically ingredients are local almonds, local honey – which depending on when harvested will influence the taste (as, for example, rosemary will give a slightly resinous flavour than local wild flowers), sugar, egg white, toasted whole or flaked almonds or other  nuts.  It is usually sold as either a rectangular tablet or in a more decorative  round cake form. It is frequently consumed as a traditional Christmas dessert in Spain as well as countries formerly under the Spanish empire, particularly in Latin America, as well as Italy.

Turron bars on pallets
Turron bars on pallets

There are two traditional basic types of turrón. Soft Jijona or turrón blando, which is so smooth it has the consistency of peanut butter and hard Alicante or turrón duro, which is like a thick almond nougat candy, similar to peanut brittle.

And we’re not talking just a.n. other confectionery item here.  Turrón is now a designated  – like champagne – with EU law recognising there are just three designated areas which make the traditional product:

  • Xixona (PGI) (Valencian Community)
  • Torró d’Alacant (PGI) (Valencian Community)
  • Torró d’Agramunt (PGI) (Catalonia)

Turrón Ingredients

The basic recipe is made from almond paste,  sugar,  honey & eggs,  with the addition of flaked nuts,  chocolate,  dried fruits,  or other ingredients. Two main styles are popular : soft,  or ‘blando’  which is akin to what is know as nougat in some countries,  and hard,  or ‘crujiente’  (these may also be labelled as ‘Jijona’  or ‘Alicante’  respectively).

To complicate matters there are also a series of quality designations:

Suprema – the best quality which for soft blends must contain at least 60 % almonds, the crunchy ‘Crujiente’ with at least 64% of hard almonds, then Extra, Estándar (or standard)  and Popular (though it is usually the suprema, extra & crujinete variaties which are seen in shops).

Turrón with chocolate has a further three designations: Extra Fino,  Fino and Popular which depend on the ratio of cocoa, cocoa butter and butter used. Other variations may have hard chocolate “flakes” within, fruits, nuts and raisins etc..

Enjoy!!

SCUBA Diving in Almunecar and La Herradura

A new initiative has started to promote the area for diving, with a meeting between local councillor, Rafael Caballero, and representatives of the diving industry.

Discover Scuba Diving trial dive with Totally Sorted Sports
Discover Scuba Diving trial dive with Totally Sorted Sports

The initial meeting was held with dive clubs in La Herradura in order to start work promoting this sector of nautical tourism, to raise it’s importance and to ensure it is represented in the promotional calendar for 2016.

A promotional video  is also being prepared in conjunction with local dive centres, with a view to screening it at travel and tourism trade shows and on the internet.  This can only help raise the profile of the local area, boasting as it does some of the best diving sites for a long way (every day we get the diving schools from as far afield as Marbella, Fuengirola  & Benalmadena travelling over 100km to dive here).

2016 Dive Shows

It is planned to kick start the promotions in Jan 2016 at the FITUR show, also promoting the news that La Herradura has again been chosen to host the European Underwater Photography Championship in October 2016.  Snr Caballero continued that the Tourist Board will also make one of the areas or rooms in that tourism fair available for the presentation of this international event.

It was also announced that in February 2016, there are plans to participate in the Dive Travel Show exhibition in Madrid with a stand.  It is intended to also showcase the local area and gastronomy, as well as the larger cultural aspects of the area.  The fair is for dive professionals and is held in the “Crystal Palace” in the capital city, Madrid.  In 2014 the fair featured some 110 exhibitors and attracted more than 12,000 visitors.

New local area SCUBA Diving guide

Finally, it was also announced that a dedicated guide book for local diving will be produced, detailing the local sites, access points, technical notes, expected durations etc.  The guide will also feature a section featuring the wealth of fauna and flora that can be expected to be seen at each site.  This is especially good news as some of our best sites are within the Cerro Gordo – Maro conservation area and boast superb soft corals, etc.

It is envisaged that this manual will also be able to be used as promotional material in other exhibitions and dive fairs.  Let’s hope that, for once, the guide is produced in languages such as English, German, Danish, etc so it is useful for our international visitors.

 

Almunecar Christmas Medieval Market 2015

Once again the Christmas medieval market will be taking place here in Almunecar on Paseo de Atillo – normally sited on the raised part in and around the tropical plants and trees overlooking the beach.

Almunecar Medieval Fair poster
Almunecar Medieval Fair

Dates this year are Saturday 5th to Tuesday 8th December to coincide with the extended “bridge” for the Constitution day fiestas.  Opening times this year, according to the town hall,  are for afternoons and on into the night, as we are told it will be running from 11:00 to 24:00, with a break at mid day.  How long the break will be is unclear, but we suspect it will be normal siesta time from aorund 14:00 to 17:00 or so.

Medieval Culture

Early indications are that there will be at least 50 stalls and exhibitors.  Visitors can expect to find a variety of hand crafted items, including incenses and natural soaps, fashion jewellery in silver, wooden articles and toys, games and puzzles, tarot card readers, wooden toys, puppets, cloth dolls, Aloe Vera products and typical regional charcuterie products.

There are also belly dancing displays and and an exhibition of local birds of prey, amongst other attractions – last year there was even a man powered wooden roundabout.

The local Alzheimer’s disease charity will also have a stand there so please support this most worthy cause if at all possible.