Classic crumbly nougat produced in the heart of the Langa hills and containing a minimum of 40% PGI Piedmontese hazelnuts, among the most sought after and best loved in the world.
The origins of nougat are surrounded by controversy, its genesis as uncertain as it is disputed.
The most reliable hypothesis is that it originated in the Middle East.
It’s no coincidence that almonds, often used as an ingredient in nougat, originally came from Asia and were spread throughout the Mediterranean by Phoenician traders.
In Piedmont, crumbly hazelnut nougat is produced mainly in the provinces of Asti and Cuneo, where turunè, or nougat makers, wisely replaced almonds, previously imported at great cost from the South of Italy, with the native hazelnut.
Using their zero-kilometre ‘tonda e gentile’ variety, they produce extraordinary nougat with unique flavour.
AREA OF PRODUCTION
Piedmont, especially the provinces of Cuneo and Asti. Our version is produced in Neive (Cuneo).
40% PGI Piemontese hazelnuts, honey, sugar, glucose syrup, egg white, wafer (wheat flour), vanilla.
PGI Piedmontese hazelnuts of the ‘tonda gentile trilobata’ variety supplied by Fontana of Cravanzana (Cuneo), a member of the Piedomontese Hazelnut Protection Consortium.
A fine wildflower honey, consistently characterized by the presence of the following pollens: Trifolium repens, Melitotus, Lotus comiculatus, Echium, Eucalyptus, Cruciferae, Heliantus, Compositae and Daucus.
The zero-kilometre eggs of the Azienda Agricola F.lli Palladino farm in Guarene d’Alba (Cuneo).
Crumbly PGI Piedmontese hazelnut nougat is produced at the Curletti pastry shop in Neive (Cuneo).
Pastry chefs Michele and Marina Curletti inherited their inexhaustible passion for baking from their father Mario, who was already running a pastry shop in the village back in 1961.
Following their father’s teachings and still helped by their mother Ritanna, they are carrying on the family tradition with skill and great care in their choice of ingredients.
Albeit tied to classic Piedmontese baking and confectionery, thanks to their curiosity, imagination and frequent refresher courses, Michele and Marina have learned over the years to innovate and renew.
Curletti’s crumbly PGI Piedmontese hazelnut nougat takes about seven hours to cook at a constant temperature of 80°C.
The honey and egg whites, whisked until stiff, are heated and warmed continuously.
Towards the end of the cooking process, the caramelised sugar is folded into the mixture, followed by the warm pre-roasted PGI Piedmontese hazelnuts.
Once cooked, the nougat is poured into moulds lined with wafers, pressed into a rectangle, after which it is cut into bars by hand and left to cool.
PERIOD OF PRODUCTION
Crumbly PGI Piedmontese nougat is produced mostly in the autumn and winter, especially during the Christmas holidays.
True to Langa tradition, it’s also popular at Easter.
Crumbly PGI Piedmontese hazelnut nougat, which is free from preservatives, has an average life of 180 days from its date of production (check the ‘best before’ date on the box).
It should be kept in a cool, dry place (never in the fridge) and, once opened, should be eaten within a few days to enjoy its aroma and flavour to the full.
Excellent as a gift during the Christmas and Easter holidays, in the Langa hills it’s traditionally served as a dessert at the end of the meal, placed at the centre of the table, broken up into bits and eaten communally.
Crumbly PGI Piedmontese hazelnut nougat is also delicious used as an ingredient in cakes and desserts.
In the restaurants of the Langa district, for example, menus often feature nougat semifreddo with hot dark chocolate sauce – an apotheosis for any gourmet!