The easiest way to describe torrone is a cross between a meringue and candy, flavored with delicious roasted nuts and often honey. Meringue (beaten egg whites) is mixed with steaming hot sugar syrup, the resulting texture can vary from soft to rock hard. Crunchy, soft, nutty, sweet…it’s really hard to keep your hands off it once you try a piece.
Origins are hard to track, most probably there was an exchange between the Arabs, Italy, Spain and France: Spaniards for instance call it turron while French living in Provence (south of France) call it nougat. But who actually invented it remains a mystery.
There are slight differences from country to country as well. For example Italian torrone is usually harder than French nougat and can be flavoured with almonds and pistachios from Sicily, or hazelnuts from Piemonte.
Together with panettone, it is definitely ranked among the most Christmassy Italian sweets of all though it has become widely available year round. Way too good be eaten only once a year!
Torrone is generally consumed as is, cut into morsels and enjoyed over the holidays. But it does make for an incredible ingredient: chopped into crumbs and powder it can be used to garnish desserts, in milkshakes, over gelato or as a base for chocolates.
If you serve it as dessert, we recommend to pair it with a beautiful sweet wine, like a Zibibbo or Moscato.
…And Buon Natale! (Merry Christmas!)