Madrid’s Casa Mira is a turroneria which opened its doors in 1855 and has remained unchanged since then – the shop is really beautiful, not least for the giant carousel in the window, which spins slowly to display the turrones, candied fruits and pastries for sale.
In Spain the traditional Christmas sweet is turron, which is made from almonds, honey, sugar and egg whites – the better the quality, the higher the almond and honey content. Cheaper industrial ones are pretty good, but feature more sugar and less honey, as well as cheaper nuts. The best ones are sublime and at Casa Mira you will find the absolute best.
There are so many variations of turron these days, but I will give a shout out to some of the most traditional ones:
“Jijona” or “blanda” (soft) is smooth and creamy with a touch of cinnamon.
“Alicante” or “dura” (hard) is white and has whole almonds and is crunchy.
“Guirlache” is my favourite – whole almonds set in crunchy caramel with a slightly burnt taste and a little anis.
At Christmas they open earlier and close later – and be prepared to queue! People love to buy their turron at Casa Mira and everyone in Spain eats turron at Christmas, no exceptions!
During the rest of the year, it is quiet in there, but it’s much easier to browse and ask questions. As well as turron, they sell pastries and they do a truly exceptional sugar “palmera”; dense, flaky and buttery – you have to try one!