I don’t know what’s happened to me. Maybe after decades of marriage, I’m turning into my husband-! That could be a problem, as I explain to people who pass me a message to give to him, or vice-versa: he’s the beard, I’m the blond. Let’s keep it straight, folks.
Anyway, he’s the Italian side of the family and I’m the Russian. So after years of him buying little boxes of Italian torrone, the sweet, almond-nougat Christmas candy, I think I’m semi-addicted. How do I know? All of a sudden, this year, rather than try one and call it a day, I actually ate a two of the mini-nougats, about a couple of inches long (see espresso cups). That’s a 50% increase in consumption for someone who doesn’t lightly toss calories around.
My husband buys the kind from La Florentine because he remembers them his childhood when elderly aunts and uncles would pass them out to the children… and maybe keep a few for themselves. Each one is individually wrapped and then boxed with an historic character illustration – the Jules Verne one (Giuglio Verne!) always catches my eye because he looks a bit like Benedetto. With 18 pieces to a box, torrone makes a perfect hostess gift or one at a time, as a stocking stuffer. They come in lemon, orange and vanilla flavors.
The taste is very subtle, not overwhelming, but delicate. The chewy consistency makes it just right. I grabbed a couple this holiday season and currently tried to find the rest of the big box filled with individual boxes. Generally, he throws handfuls into his siblings’ gift boxes shipped all around the world, but I know that he buys more than one box. And now that the new year is upon us, all I could find was an already-opened little box on Benedetto’s dresser, stuffed with various candy wrappers…. Hmmm….
Yep. That’s how it went down.
I looked up some recipes online. I’m not sure that they would taste the same, but it might be a good rainy day activity. Personally, I can’t see myself stirring a pot of honey on the stove for 1-1/2 hours. It takes toasted almonds, sugar, honey, paper-thin wafers (potato starch), egg whites, lemon zest, orange zest or vanilla. The wafer coating would be the most difficult to locate.
Any way you slice it, torrone is a terrific mid-afternoon or after-dinner treat. Whether it’s Christmas or not, whether you’re Italian or not, go get a box.