The Ancient History of Nougat

Jul 22


Lisa Jeeves

Lisa Jeeves

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When it comes to wholesale sweets, nougat is a making a retro-revival comeback – although, in truth, it never went away.


With so many different types of wholesale sweets available for purchase,The Ancient History of Nougat  Articles sometimes it can be hard to decide what is going to be a good seller. A very traditional sweet that is making a comeback is nougat – with experts saying the market is seeing a resurgence of interest in retro-sweets.

Read on for some interesting information about the origins and traditions of this sweet treat.

Nougat in the Middle East

The word Nougat is French in origin, and its name literally means "nut cake", and this sweet has a long and interesting history. Over the centuries, several regions in Europe have traditionally produced their own distinct variations, but the consensus is that nougat probably originated from the Middle East. It is very popular in Iran and is still made traditionally, with either pistachios or almonds and rosewater, which give it a very distinctive taste. Iranian nougat is called Gaz and it was first created in the city of Isfahan, which, incidentally, happens to be famous for its wonderful Persian carpets. This type of nougat is not widely popular in Europe, however, so is not stocked by too many wholesale sweets suppliers.

European nougat

A recipe similar to nougat was made in Roman times, but the first written mention was in Spain in the 1400s. Different recipes can be found from various parts of Europe including France, Spain and Italy, which are all famous for the sweet.

European nougat was originally made with honey, egg whites and almonds, but now sugar and syrup are generally used instead of honey - although it is still possible to find nougat made in a very traditional way in parts of Europe. How the nougat is prepared will determine whether it is hard or soft and chewy. Honey nougat is chewy and softer, but when it is made with sugar it can be cooked longer to create a harder texture.


The Italian firm Quaranta makes one of the better-known brands of nougat available in the UK, with top quality wholesale sweets suppliers stocking their product. Antonio and Alzira Quaranta founded Quaranta in 1924, in Carvaggio, northern Italy. They collected and perfected different regional sweet specialities from the surrounding area, then started to produce them in a workshop in their home. Nowadays, while it is still a family run business, the Quaranta nougat is produced in a large specially-built factory using modern equipment and the latest technology. However, the quality is the same as when it was made in smaller quantities and there are very strict controls set in both the primary and finished products. Although they are produced for the wholesale sweets market, the attention to detail and quality mean that the exclusive handmade quality is not compromised.

Christmas nougat

Italians have traditionally eaten nougat, called Torrone, after their Christmas meal. Torrone is made using different ingredients such as chocolate and dried fruit. Although children also love nougat, it is also considered a more sophisticated adult treat in Italy, and is often served after a good meal accompanied by an amaro or a Strega to complement its richness.

Few people may realise the long history associated with nougat, but its popularity has endured throughout the centuries and doesn't look like waning any time soon.