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Cremonese Torrone

Nougat is the princely product of the ancient art of pastry in Cremona. The secret of the Cremona Torrone, a savoury nougat based on almonds, honey and egg whites, does not lie so much in the ingredients common to other pastry preparations, but in a state-of-the-art procedure. As the legend goes, this nougat was created in Cremona in 1441 on the occasion of the lavish wedding of the Duchess Bianca Maria Visconti and Francesco Sforza, Duke of Milan. To celebrate the important event, a group of Cremona bakers prepared a type of crunchy sweet in the shape of a Torrazzo or Tower, the high bell tower and symbol of Cremona, which gave the nougat its name. But according to the historic annals, in the 15th century, Cremona was an important mercantile hub especially linked with the Oriental markets. It is thus believed that the nougat arrived directly from the Orient in Cremona, then a strategic fluvial port on the Po River. In this case, the big tower would have been a variation of the famous "cubbaita" or "giuggiulena," an Arabic delight made of honey and sesame seeds. If the origin of the nougat is Arabic, the name is probably of Spanish origin, from the term "turròn."  Many historic documents attest that the sweet was a foodstuff that was always found on the tables of the Cremonese, especially during festivities. In the 16th century, nougat became an important element in commercial barters. The Cremonese ambassadors in Spain, after being praised by the Spanish dignitaries for their nougats, decided to offer them as gifts during the Christmas season. To testify to the importance of the nougat in Cremona, every year in November, the Nougat Feast is held, and is a great tourist attraction. The ingredients are: almonds or hazelnuts, sugar, honey, egg white, sugar syrup or vice versa, aromas, wafers, and starch.