How to choose a good nougat according to Corrado Assenza

How to choose a good nougat according to Corrado Assenza

According to the confectioner Corrado Assenza, the true symbol of Christmas is nougat: here are his 5 tips for choosing a really good one for these holidays.

Corrado Assenza is to Franco Battiato as Maestro is to Maestro . At least that’s what I think. And not so much for the common trait of Sicilianity, but because when you hear Assenza speak – like Battiato – you perceive wisdom, knowledge,second absence, the Christmas confectionery tradition that has always united Italy is nougatand then the love for what is done, which is never heralded, but is clearly understood by every word. So it is fascinating to hear how Sicilian pastry derives from the Arab one and from millenary cultural and ethnic stratifications, discovering rather rediscovering that the Christmas confectionery tradition that has always united Italy, from north to south, is that of nougat , not panettone. . ” Panettone arrived in all regions in the 60s and 70s, with the advertising of Motta and Alemagna, because in those years the industry took possession of this dessert, also proposing it in large-scale distribution and making it therefore popular and accessible to all ”says Assenza, tranchant. “We do not produce panettone, but we do candied fruit for those who produce them. We blanch the orange, lemon, bergamot, up to the zucchini, green beans, tomatoes and peppers. No wonder, given that panettone is now the container of tradition, in the name of innovation ”, he concludes.


But at Christmas at Caffè Sicilia in Noto  (corso Vittorio Emanuele, 125) the star is the nougat: with pistachio from Bronte, some candied orange and of course honey or even the one with almonds from Noto.

corrado no torrone

And then of course there is the Blu di Noto, soft, with almonds, honey, and Jamaican Blue Mountain single-origin coffee, toasted by the Caffè del Doge in Venice. And how can we mere mortals choose a good nougat?  Here are Corrado Assenza’s 5 tips.


  1. honeyGive preference to nougats in which honey prevails and there is little sugar, since the latter is widely used in industrial products.
  2. Read the label carefully : the word animal fats must not appear, the only one allowed is the egg white used in the dough.
  3. tonara nougatPrefer artisanal nougats : in fact, usually the artisans do not toast the hazelnuts too much, which instead “ often in industrial nougats have a burnt flavor and give the whole nougat a bitter aftertaste ”, says Corrado.
  4. Keep an eye on conservation: if you have any leftovers, keep the nougat at room temperature in a dry place, not in the refrigerator. In reality, nougat should be consumed at the moment. For this reason it is better to buy a little at a time . “This is why we sell 200-gram pieces, which are eaten at the table all at once”, reveals Assenza.
  5. NougatAlways aim for quality : ” So much nougat is present throughout the Italian territory and in all versions: from Piedmontese, with the tonda gentile, to those with chocolate cru “.

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