David Barbero’s family has been making torrone hazelnut nougat for five generations in the town of Asti since 1883, but neither the history nor repetitiveness seems to dull his passion.
When you ask him about torrone his eyes light up and he talks in fast, clipped English. “We don’t kill the torrone! Industrial makers use no egg whites and they crank out a batch in an hour. They beat the mixture fast and use lots of pressure. Ours takes seven hours. We break for lunch! And we also use egg whites. All of this makes our texture crumbly, not hard and tough. Here, take a bite, you can taste.”
First off, I love the fact that he mentions lunch. More importantly, he's dead true, especially when it comes to texture. Barbero torrone is gently crumbly, in a shattering, delicate way. Delicious, spiked with loads of famous Piemontese hazelnuts that are roasted in house every morning, then hand selected and folded into the nougat. In their classic Northern Italian graphic-designed tin (500 g tin illustrated), it makes a great gift. Or the 8-inch long bar, enrobed in chocolate, makes a great stocking stuffer.
Though it has no preservatives, when stored in a cool, dry spot, the torrone will keep for up to a few months, or until your willpower gives out.
"I am a fiend for torrone, buying it every time I see it. I’ve tried some fairly expensive, imported torrone before, but nothing I’ve ever had compares to the ambrosia that I just received. I am ruined for life, and it is all your fault."
Ann, Falls Church, VA