Nougat probably originated in the Middle East or Central Asia in ancient times. Although there are many legends, we are not really sure about its origins. Even the origins of nougat in Italy (torrone as it is known there) are challenged by different towns and regions. Italian nougat confections probably have their origins in ancient Rome. This original delicacy, that was made of almonds, honey and egg white, was especially served on formal occasions and as offerings to the gods.
According to legend, Bianca Maria Visconti and Francesco Sforza wedded on October 25, 1441, and as the city of Cremona was offered as part of her dowry, the court pastry chefs created a special dessert to commemorate the occasion. Using honey, almonds and beaten egg whites, and cooking over low heat for long hours, the nougat confection was fashioned into the shape of the Torrazzo bell tower, and so the dessert was given the name torrone.
Nougat developed as an opulent sweet in France, Spain and Germany over the years, each with their different rich traditions.
Throughout Europe, nougat was the treat of Royals, Nobles, and the people who made history.
And like the original torrone of Renaissance Cremona, Rinaldi honey nougat began in a kitchen.
Growing up in the Eighties, the Rinaldi family often laboured for hours over the kitchen stove to make their favourite sweet. But it was then, as it is today, a labour of love. For special occasions they sent to Italy for what they thought was ‘the real thing’. Eventually though, the family became disenchanted with the torrone manufactured in Italy. It had sacrificed its special taste to the pressures of mass production. The Rinaldi family had also become used to the exceptional quality of nuts and honey available in their new home, South Australia.
Roberto Rinaldi decided it was time to get serious about torrone. The family recipes needed to be refined and improved if he was going to make the best torrone style nougat.
Weeks, then months were spent researching the literary archives of the South Australian State Library. This research was also extended to overseas libraries and other literary sources. Advice was sought from a number of retired pasticcerias, the ‘Maestri di Torrone’, and it was given.
First the family, then the extended the family and finally anybody who walked through the door was invited to sample the latest variation. There came a point where everybody agreed that it was the best torrone they had ever eaten. “You should put it on the market” they chorused. And so in November 1994, Rinaldi Confectionery (Dolciaria Rinaldi) was born.
Today Rinaldi Confectionery brings together fine Australian honeys, nuts and Italian traditions to make authentic honey nougats of international quality.