The history of nougat appears to date from Arab times, and the honeyed sweets with almonds were modified over the centuries throughout the peninsula.
The history of nougat appears to date from Arab times, and the honeyed sweets with almonds were modified over the centuries throughout the peninsula. Later, thanks to Catalan noblemen, it spread through Italy and France, becoming a common sweet among courtiers.
The first mention of nougat is made in a book on banquets by Cristófono Massisburgo, published in 1549, in which a comprehensive list of the banquets of Cardinal Hipólito de Este is made. It was at a banquet with a hundred dishes in 1529 and the sweet was introduced in the shape of towers, which were chopped into pieces on five trays, as a result of which many point to the etymology of the Latin word torrone. A Levantine legend also maintains that it was invented in a besieged city during the Reconquest, when an honourable sweet was needed.
With countryside full of almonds and honeycombs, its raw materials, the Castuera area provides the ideal conditions for the production of nougat and there exist texts which testify to the importance of nougat in Castuera as early as the 17th century.
Almost since its beginnings it has mainly been eaten at Christmas. This custom applies to most of its varieties, including the torroni piamontes and the siciliano.