Nougat news and farmer’s markets

One of the signs that spring has sprung in Canada is the reopening of farmer’s markets. This last week I heard so much talk about ramps, morels and fiddleheads that I really can’t keep track of how many people I know have been to a local farmer’s market and are now cooking up these first of the season morsels.

Besides fresh locally foraged and farmed produce, Canadian farmer’s markets are great places to find homemade baking, preserves and artisan foodstuffs such as cheese. When I was in Edmonton in March, I spent a day with Brad Smoliak. Besides being a research chef, food stylist and cookbook author, Brad and his sister-in-law make wonderful nougat that they sell at two Edmonton area farmer’s markets.

Although many people make fudge, truffles and brittles at home, the art of nougat making seems to be fading. In fact, when I offered Brad’s nougat around the test kitchen, it became obvious that even among professionals, the definition of nougat is not top of mind. That’s too bad because nougat is delicious and deserves more recognition.

Nougat is a confectionary concoction that can be soft and chewy or hard and crunchy. It almost always contains nuts of various kinds (although usually not peanuts). Famous European nougats include Italian torrone, Spanish turron and Persian gaz.

Making nougat requires a bit of practice since you need to heat a sugar solution to just the right temperature before folding in egg whites and honey. The temperature of the sugar mixture determines the final texture of the nougat. Even sweet kitchen guru David Lebovitz cautions that nougat is “one of the most difficult of candies to master.”

I’ve never made nougat and after this kind of caution, I’m a little afraid to try. Does anyone have a recipe, advice or some nougat making tips they’d like to share?


13 Responses to Nougat news and farmer’s markets

  1. Cakespy says:

    Oh lord do I love a good nougat. David L. is right though about it being a difficult art–I have been disappointed by more than one that wasn’t quite right. Alas, I have no tips to offer but if you’re making it, I would gladly be your taste tester 🙂

  2. danamccauley says:

    Well, if the all knowing Cakespy is nougat shy, I think I’ll just stick with Brad’s nougat…it’s worth the occasional tirp to Edmonton!

  3. […] danamccauley wrote an interesting post today on Nougat News and Farmerâs MarketsHere’s a quick excerptOne of the signs that spring has sprung in Canada is the reopening of farmer’s markets. This last week I heard so much talk about ramps, morels and fiddleheads that I really can’t keep track of how many people I know have been to a … […]

  4. brad says:

    We will keep making it. Michelle will respond a little latter with all the available flavors and shipping info. The Edmonton Downtown Farmers Market opens this Saturday May 17th.

  5. Cheryl says:

    I. love. nougat. In fact, the first time I tried Italian torrone I thought I’d died and gone to heaven.

    I don’t think I’d ever make nougat myself, though, as the cleanup would probably be a horror show.

  6. danamccauley says:

    So true Cheryl. That would be a lot of sticky and gooey.

  7. Michelle says:

    Thank you for the posting.

    Luckily, I have a great chef who makes these delightful treats!

    This style of newget always begins with a foundation of the finest dark, milk or white chocolate. Its signature nuttiness comes from slow roasted almonds, delicately mixed into every batch. Newget bears little resemblance to the ordinary nougat many are familiar with. This Newget has character with a chocolate base supporting many different flavor combinations – a flavour for every palate!

    Here are some of our Flavours:

    Signature flavors
    White Chocolate Classic – white chocolate with toasted almonds
    Milk Chocolate Classic – milk chocolate with toasted almonds
    Dark Chocolate Classic – dark chocolate with toasted almonds

    Crazy Flavours
    Xpresso – white chocolate, toasted almonds and espresso
    White Berry Blast – white chocolate, toasted almonds and dried cranberries and blueberries
    Cashew Sesame Snap – milk chocolate, toasted cashews and pieces of sesame snap candy
    Going Coconuts – milk chocolate, toasted almonds and toasted coconut
    Ole – dark chocolate, chilies and cinnamon
    Dark Berry Blast – dark chocolate, toasted almonds and dried cranberries and blueberries
    MaryAnne and Ginger – dark chocolate, toasted almonds and candied ginger
    3-Pepper Zinger – dark chocolate, toasted almonds, combination of peppers; Szechuan, black pepper, etc.

    Newget is easily packed and shipped, shipping costs vary by weight.

    If you are looking for us, we will be at the Downtown Edmonton Farmer’s Market May 17th and June 7th.

    We can also be reach via e-mail @ info@ or call us directly 780-995-1115 for more information.

  8. Kim says:

    Great post! This is truly my daughters favorite candy. Great photos!

  9. Sabrina says:

    I feel inspired! I think I might try making some this long weekend, seeing as I don’t have any plans. I’ve never tried before, truthfully candy making isn’t my favourite thing to do but I should at least try. Does anyone know of any cook books or websites that would aid me in my adventure? I have a feeling I’ll need the help!

  10. danamccauley says:

    Gourmet’s enewsletter just arrived and geuss what? Nougat is in Ruth R’s editor’s letter. Freaky!

  11. Tartelette says:

    You speak to a convert! My grandmother is from the nougat town of France, Montelimar and we had our weekly supply thanks to her brother!

  12. danamccauley says:

    A nougat town, who knew?

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