Wednesday, December 15, 2010

On the nature of nougat

Because I can't live in Montélimar, the WORLD'S nougat capital, and not write at least one post about nougat.

I've always liked nougat so that part is working out well. The only real disadvantage to living the world's nougat capital is that you get used to nougat. And by that I mean you get used to having it around. And by having it around I mean eating it every day. I can honestly say that I have had at least one piece of nougat every day since I moved here. You'd think I'd get sick of it. But no. And now it's a little difficult to imagine an entire day without eating at least one little piece.

But as I've gotten used to the nougat and used to eating the nougat regularly, I've also gotten really particular about it. Whereas before I might have been a nougat slut, I've now become a nougat snob. I'd rather not have nougat than have bad, or even mediocre nougat.

I haven't completely worked out all the criteria, despite endless quality audits, but I'm working on it. Quantity and variety of nuts, texture, honey to sugar ratio - this is as far as I've gotten. I will no longer eat the ones given with coffee at a restaurant near work - chalky and bland. The best pastry and chocolate shop in town, Escobar, makes delicious chocolate covered nougat - of which 2 varieties are excellent - the chocolate and cacao one and then the praline one. The chocolate and powdered sugar one is very disappointing and will never cross my lips again. The ones from DuLac, another lovely pastry and chocolate shop on the main market square, is interesting. Really. It's stickier than most, wetter almost, and the texture of the nuts is influenced by its surroundings.

I'll stop here, you've probably heard more than you ever wanted to about nougat.


Alison said...

I never thought about the nuances of nougat, but it makes sense: there are nuances to everything.

JMH said...

The world's nougat capital. Better than hog butcher for the world, but thank you, Carl Sandburg and this fair city, for turning me from hog carcass slut into hog carcass snob.

I don't know if you track your stats, but please let me know if you get any keyword searches for "hog carcass slut." That would make my day.

Anyhow, I find nougat fascinating. I've probably never tried good nougat, just the delicious-to-the-ignorant insides of a Three Musketeers or Milky Way.

I don't know if your nougat people ship overseas, but let me know if they do, or if you're planning a holiday trip to a zip code beginning with 6. I'll get you some money, and maybe you can get me some nougat.

JMH said...

Wow, these short days and long nights are really making me a bit deranged. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you, and don't worry about the nougat.

Nicole said...

Alison - To blogging too...

JMH - To you too. And fyi, they do ship all over the place.

Anonymous said...

I know I'm writing to you about an older blog you had, but you are very correct about the quality of nougat. I was a naive American once til I stayed in Montelimar. I never knew of the history of nougat other then I like the taste. I stayed with the Escobar's "at their home" back in 2001. Very nice family I might add, Mr. Escobar gave me the tour of his shop and a history on the nougat itself. We have nothing like it here in the states. Thank you for an old memory.