The Marcona variety of almond, which is shorter, rounder, sweeter, and more delicate in texture than other varieties, originated in Spain and is becoming popular in the rest of the world. Marcona almonds are traditionally served after being lightly fried in oil, and are also used by Spanish chefs to prepare a dessert called turrón.

 

Crunchy Marcona almonds are smooth and juicy with an incomparably sweet delicate taste.

Spain is the only source of Marcona almonds in the world. Since Spaniards covet them for many of their traditional gourmet treats, they remain in a very limited supply for the rest of the world.

What makes Marconas even more precious is that the trees are early bloomers, making them especially vulnerable to late spring frosts. The small groves are found along the Mediterranean coasts of Spain -- from the southern coast of Málaga, proceeding east up the Mediterranean coast to Tarragona.

Unlike the California almonds with which propagate the world, with their light brown porous shells, Marcona almonds have a protective hard shell that resists insects. For this reason they may be grown naturally with no need for herbicides.

Almonds are one of the healthiest snacks. The nutrient density is so high that a small portion provides substantial nutrients. They also have a high content of cholesterol fighting mono unsaturated oil. A recent study showed that when people eat roughly a handful of almonds a day, they lowered their LDL cholesterol by 3%!

 

More on Turron:

Turrón may be roughly classified as:

  • Hard (the Alicante variety): A compact block of whole almonds in a brittle mass of eggs, honey and sugar.
  • Soft (the Jijona variety): Similar but the almonds are reduced to a paste. The addition of oil makes the matrix more chewy and sticky.

The quality of the product is determined by the quantity of almond in the mix. Genuine Jijona turrón must contain 64% almonds, the Alicante version 60% almonds.