‘Queen of Nuts’: Spain’s Marcona Almonds


L2F Feb 17 pic Spain food Marcona almonds shutterstock_222424675photo | MSPhotographic

Spain has an impressive number of foodie favourites associated with it – cured Serrano and Ibérico hams, olive oil, saffron, and so on. One that’s less well known but prized by nut connoisseurs (as opposed to nutty connoisseurs, though there is overlap) is a particular kind of sweet almonds which originated around Alicante and still largely grown in Spain, from Alicante up through Catalonia.

Marconas are a bit rounder, plumper, and moister than traditional almonds, with a softer aroma and flavour, due to their high oil and moisture content. Because of those qualities, they’re favoured in the elaboration of the best-quality turrón, the slabs of nougat which are particularly popular around the holidays, as well as marzipan.

They’re fairly widely exported these days, as well as available online, at prices often comparable, I’ve found, to those of macadamia nuts. So, yes, definitely a bit of a luxury gourmet item. But your mouth will thank you!