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Q: Where Does Nougat Come From?

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A: Like falafel and the number “0,” nougat is a product of Middle Eastern genius. Originally made from a mixture of honey, nuts, and spices, the basic recipe was transplanted to Greece where it lost the spices and gained the name “nugo.” Later, cultural exchanges brought the treat to France, where it became “nougat,” and the recipe switched from calling for ground walnuts to ground almonds.

In 1650, the French made another change for the better, adding beaten egg whites and creating the fluffier, modern nougat texture. As for the first commercial nougat factory, that took a little longer to set up. It opened in Montelimar, France, in the late 18th century, and today, the area is renowned for its nougat, with about a dozen manufacturers producing the sugary treat.

But what about that nougat you’re probably familiar with from candy bars? Well, we’re sad to say that’s not “true nougat.” The imitation stuff is chewier, less almond-y, and contains enough artificial preservatives to make a French candy-maker cry.

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  • dyrkness

    So is the real thing still available? How is it used other than in candy bars? and is it possible to whip up a batch of the real thing at home?

  • http://w6daily.winn.com/ Phillip Winn

    Dyrkness, Google is your friend. To make nougat at home, follow either this recipe or this one.

    Or to buy some yourself, you can do that online as well. Also, some specialty candy stores carry various desserts made with real nougat. I’ve seen it, I’ve tried it.

  • http://w6daily.winn.com/ Phillip Winn

    I should also point out that, at least when I check right now, the ads next to the article above are for nougat prodcuts as well!

  • JR

    I thought the number “0” was invented in India.

  • http://blog.myspace.com/tinkie101 tink

    Too lazy to even try to make nougat at home…guess you’ve sent me on a quest to find a restaurant near home that can satisfy my curiosity!

  • http://www.crimsondove.blogspot.com Connie

    Don’t make it. Too time consuming. Get it at avenuesweets.com. They are simply the best – and most friendly candy company. You won’t regreat what you pay for such a delicacy.

  • Charles N.

    Avenue Sweets is the BEST nougat, period! I even found a place that sells their nougat at a disocunt, http://www.dannybox.com