Italy's enduring love affair with nougat

Who doesn't love nougat. This indulgent confection made of sugar, nuts and egg whites is a favourite of many. No surprise, perhaps, that nougat has made an appearance on many special occasions across Europe for centuries, including Spain, France and Italy.

Italy’s love affair with nougat begins in 1441 in the city of Cremona, Lombardy. To celebrate the marriage of the powerful aristocrats Francesco Sforza and Bianca Maria Visconti the city organises a lavish banquet with a giant nougat cake as its centre piece. Since then, nougat – or torrone as the Italians call it – is a key delicacy in Italian celebrations, especially Christmas.

Vintage pink tin from Barbero filled with wrapped Italian nougat

One of the oldest remaining torrone-makers in Italy is Davide Barbero, from the Piedmontese town of Asti. Since 1883, the Barbero family has been making torrone as well as hazelnut chocolate using the finest Piedmont hazelnuts. Seven generations down the line, Barbero is still using the same local ingredients and methods at the same location in Asti. A true nougat love story.