Every Christmas millions of people in Spain eat turron, and thousands of foreigners look desperately in their dictionaries for a good translation, usually finding ‘nougat’, which is not really right.
Turron is really a generic name for a series of products, most of which have almonds and/or marzipan as their basis.
The Valencian countryside is awash with almond trees, and as early as January they begin to bloom, turning the countryside pink, like a marshmallow dream.
Turron is a very Valencian product, and one of its main producers, Ramos, has a shop right in the heart of the city, where you can sample their range of delights.
The Ancient Greeks were probably the first to mix almonds and honey in Al-Andalus and North Africa populations, and ‘turun’ is mentioned in a treatise by an 11th century Arab physician ‘De medicinis et cibis semplicibus.’
Today ‘turron’ or ‘turun’ is produced in a dazzling variety of ways and with various ingredients, often featuring chocolate and other irresistible aphrodisiacs.
Turron from Xixona, its present day cradle, is first mentioned in the 16th century in Anales y Documentos históricos sobre el turrón de Jijona’ by D. Fernando Galiana Carbonell, the official chronicler of Jijona, and he points out that it was already known before the 14th century .
King Felipe II’s cook Don Antonio Martínez said in his book that all of Jijona’s houses smelt of honey.
Whichever your personal preference, and mine is the rum and raisin variety, you don’t have to wait for Christmas for some inexcusable self-indulgence. The Ramos shop is open all the year round.
In the sixties Edelmira Ramos and her husband Luis Cortes opened the shop by Santa Catalina.
They sold their turron among the horchaterias under the brand name ‘Hijos de Juan Ramos Mira.’
In 1986 their son Juan Luis Cortés Ramos took over, and continues to manage the shop in 11 Calle Sombrerería.