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Entries in nougat (2)

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.

Sunday
May162010

Just Say Nougat: Delicious Nougat from Sugar and Spice, Taiwan

The tooth fairy was pretty awesome. You lose a tooth and you get money. Sweet!

But getting older, I've discovered something even better: the Nougat Fairy. That's what I've found in Kairu, a customer/acquaintance who recently graduated to this (even better, in my opinion) title.

The first time I met her was in my store, when she came in and picked up a bacon-and-cupcake mug (good choice!). She was in a hurry as she was headed home to pack for a trip to Taiwan.

The next time I saw her, she was back from her trip, and toting a big ol' sack of what she calls the best nougat from Taiwan, from Sugar & Spice, a bakery with several locations.

And while I can't say I have extensive experience in tasting Taiwanese nougat, I can say that this stuff is very, very good--amazingly creamy, and punctuated by crunchy, roasted nuts which act as the perfect complement to the sweetness. Addictive, even, as evidenced by said big ol' sack, which is now lamentably empty.

Other offerings at Sugar & Spice can be spotty according to aforementioned Nougat Fairy Kairu and websites like A Hungry Girl's Guide to Taipei; however, this nougat is highly suggested and definitely worth hoarding by the brimming bag in your luggage.

Nougat from Sugar & Spice, Taiwan; online at sugar.com/tw. 

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