Friday, July 28, 2006


When I was twenty I went to Spain to learn Spanish, and stayed with a host family. Come New Year’s, my own family came over to visit, and we had a wonderful, if largely charades-filled dinner that united the two monolingual families.

At midnight we all tried to eat as many grapes as possible—a Spanish tradition.

At one, my host father broke out his guitar and tried to sing Geemee Hendreex songs for my father.

At two, the four-year old daughter began to cry.

At three, she stopped and the New Year’s Turrón was brought out.

By three-thirty, my family and I were falling asleep in the sofa while my 85-year-old host grandmother took to the living room dance floor and began a half-flamenco, half-River Dance performance, cheered on by the family’s Olés!

This is because Turrón has a funny effect on the Spanish people…and particularly the old people, who know how to harness its powers. Turron, as the ever-reliable Wikipedia tells us, "is a nougat confection, typically made of honey, sugar, and egg white, coated in crushed, toasted almonds." But nowadays today you can have Turrón in chocolate, egg yolk (!), cream, and caramel flavors.

However, there’s no reason for you—non-Spanish as you are—to get excited about this. At the end of the day Turrón is really just sort of sticky and rather unexceptional. Which is why it gets to be called a “traditional” or “local” Spanish sweet. That’s always the way it is with traditional goods—because if they were really that good they probably would have been exported to your country, too.

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bikoko said...

sounds like Aix-en-provence's calisson, non?

Anonymous said...

it's more like very very hard nougat, than a calisson. And now you reminded me the Turon, I think I can kill half dozen people for one bite...

And btw you can find Turon in Uno, a big classy supermarket in Paris, and few other places too.

Moko said...

what i don't get is how when they make chocolate and egg yolk and all those sorts of are they still turron? as far as i can tell, the only thing that they have in common with traditional turron is their shape. i think they just call it "turron" so that more people willbuy chocolate in december, thinking it's festive rather than, well just them wanting to pig out on chocolate

superclosetnerd said...

Man... it's been a while since I've been over here. I can't recall but it looks like there's some changes... looks good. I'll have to come back and check around a little later.
My new site is learn spanish online