Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Nugget Factory

On Wednesday we went to the nougat factory D. Barbero it is one of the top producers of Italian Nougat. It has been around and run by on family for an amazing 127 years. Their particular Nougat is made from some very simple ingredients: Honey, Sugar, Glucose Syrup, Egg Whites and Hazelnuts. First the honey is heated until it becomes very thin then sugar is stirred into the mix along with the glucose syrup to make a sweet warm liquid into which the egg whites are added. the whole mix is whipped until it triples in volume to from a huge mass that looks a lot like marshmallow cream. Once the "raw" nougat has reached the perfect texture twice roasted whole Piedmontese hazelnuts are added to the mix. The mix is then pulled from the mixer on to a floured table in batches which are rolled into logs and transferred to another table where a crew of guys are waiting to take chunks from this log and hand press it into wooden forms to make bricks of nougat. These bricks are then set aside to rest and cool until they can be cut into the desired portions for further production.

They are either cut into small sheets about 3x8 in, and packaged in bundles of six, or Bars 4x9 in. about 1 in thick. Both of these are meant to be eaten as you would Grana Padano cheese, broken into chunks and consumed with family and friends. These are the classic methods of preparation, in the 1930 one of the sons got it in their had that they should expand into the Chocolate market as well. Thus another production method was created chocolate covered Nougat. They sell this in 3X1/2X1/2 in. bars covered with Dark or Milk chocolate. These proved to be Olesia's favorite. They also offer a chocolate that comes from a recipe that was created in Turin. A mixture of dark chocolate and milk chocolate combined with Hazelnut butter(nutella). I am sure I an oversimplifying this process but the end product is nothing short of Divine.

Now most regions and towns in Italy claim that their product is the Best in all of Italy and the World but in the case of the Piedmontese Hazelnut I really have to side with David, the owner, of this one and the same goes for the Nougat. This is not the nougat that one finds in a Three Musketeers it has a crunch to it and it is dotted with big pieces of the Hazelnut. It melts in your mouth and leaves you craving for more, not overly sweet but just right. Unfortunately we forgot our camera for this field trip but I will try to get some pics from my compatriots. Though I have been having trouble uploading photos of any kind. So that about covers our Journey to the Nougat Factory. Ciao for now, stay tuned

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