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Friday, December 20, 2013 (read 637 times)
The Turron Museum in Xixonaby Matthew
Spanish Christmas Desserts
Turrón Museum is an institution that seeks to preserve the heritage of the production of turrón (a type of nougat candy) and marzipan – both of which are highlights during Christmas in Spain. Specifically, it intends to maintain the equipment used to produce the sweets, a process which began in the middle ages. It’s located in the town of Xixona, with a population of around 7,500 people and which lies about 24 kilometers from the city of Alicante.
The museum itself is spread over three stories, each of which focuses on a specific aspect of the production process. The top floor displays all the ingredients that are used to make the factory’s products. These include honey, sugar, almonds and eggs. On the floor below is the machinery used to turn these ingredients into the finished delicacy. The ground floor features information on the marketing and advertising operations, as well as general history on the manufacturing company. The museum also provides guided tours of the modern facility, where the present-day processes can be observed from balconies that look over the operations floor.
Turrón is originally an Arabic delicacy, which has been popular for centuries. The sweet was supposedly invented by the Moors in the small village of Xixona – alternatively spelt as Jijona – and is based predominantly on nougat. It’s normally shaped into a round cake-like food, or a rectangular block. Its name seems to stem from the Latin word torrere which in English means ‘to toast’, which vaguely reflects the way it’s made. The original Xixona version of Turrón is notable for its pasty almonds, as well as additional oil which increases the sweet’s chewiness and stickiness.
As with all museums, there are a few rules in place designed to protect the ornaments on display. Eating or drinking is not allowed inside the building, neither is flash photography or touching the items on display. Animals are also prohibited, unless certified as a guide dog.
This Spanish sweets museum will be closed on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, otherwise the usual opening hours vary depending on the date. Check the museum’s website for more specific details. Similarly, prices vary depending on season. During high season (July to December) tickets are no more than €3 per person or €1 for the reduced ticket. Between January and July tickets per person are €1.50 and €0.50 for reduced tickets. People are eligible for a reduced ticket if they are retired or are students. Children under the age of ten, people with disabilities, and residents of Xixona all go free.
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