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Monday
Nov152010

Life's a Gaz: Delicious Nougat from Iran as Tasted by Cake Gumshoe Nicholas

CakeSpy Note: So, I have a totally sweet customer named Nicholas. He's basically the ideal customer: he comes in and buys stuff, and then tells me all about the delicious sweets he eats when he travels the world. Just looking at his pictures is bound to evoke some seriously sweet wanderlust. Here's where he's been recently:

I've got another exotic treat for you, this time from Iran! No, I haven't been there but living in Sweden means meeting new people from all over and recently a friend of mine gave me a box of "Kermani Gaz" as a house warming gift from his home town, Isfahan in the center of the country. Food knows no borders, so I thought I'd share this with you!

The treat usually goes along with saffron tea and is a nibble, much like tea cookies are. From what I've been told, while it's popular all over Iran it's a specialty of Isfahan and this particular brand has been around since 1902. The treat itself is a type of nougat with pistachio, and the nougat is flavored which what I believe is rose water. It's not sweet like brownies, but the rather a delicate floral flavor mixed with a natural sweetness and a slight crunch of the pistachio. A very refined companion for tea!

Thanks Nicholas for making us all jealous! 

Of course, if you're like me, you like knowing the backstory, so here's a bit more lore on Gaz, as discovered on Wikipedia:

Gaz is the traditional name of Persian nougat originating from the city of Esfahan, located in the central plateau of Iran.

The name gaz is associated with gaz-angebin which translates to "sap of angebin"; a desert plant member of the Tamarisk family and native to the Zagros mountain range located to the west of the city.

The sweet, milky sap of the angebin plant is associated with manna, a food mentioned in the religious texts of the Abrahamic religions. This sap is collected annually and is combined with other ingredients including pistachio or almond kernels, rosewater and egg white. This combination of ingredients give gaz its distinctive flavour, rendering it unique when compared to European nougats.

Want more? I couldn't find a place to buy Gaz online; however, this recipe for Persian Nougat looks like it might fit the bill if you're feeling an intense craving.

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Reader Comments (6)

I am coming close to my annual Christmas torrone craving, so seeing this has just ramped it up another notch. I *love* rosewater in sweets!
November 15 | Unregistered CommenterKim
Nougat from Iran? Make that friendly customer bring you a piece next time and not just drool over his great photos =)) It looks amazing!
November 15 | Unregistered CommenterAnne-Marie
Omg!i have tried those before too and they are totally DELICIOUS!!!!
November 15 | Unregistered CommenterCakewhiz
WOW. I love the look of these. The white and the pale green pistachio together is so pretty... I could very well sit in bed with a box of these little snackgems and watch movies all day... !
November 16 | Unregistered Commenterlyndsay
Gaz is terrific! There's also Sohan-e-Qom from the city of Qom. It's like a very thick & buttery peanut brittle, but with saffron and pistachios. You can buy both Gaz and Sohan at local Iranian Grocery stores. When someone brings you some from Iran, though, it is always the best.
November 17 | Unregistered CommenterSlownomad
I too just returned from a two and a half week vacation in Iran, and I bought two boxes of Gaz! It's AWESOME!!! Actually, I finished a whole box in a month! xD! I've been searching for the recipe ever since, but it's REALLY hadr! Do you have some easier recipes for Gaz? Thanks!
February 2 | Unregistered CommenterNancyB.

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