Thursday, October 4, 2007

Roman Nougat

What is it?
Nougat, for those of you who don't know, is a traditional gourmet confection made primarily of sugar or honey and egg white (hence the protein in the nutritional info). Although there is no evidence of the nougat being Roman, it did originate in Europe and has been around for several centuries under the Spanish name 'turron' and the Italian name 'torrone'. The brown, crunchy bubbles in one variety of Dairy Milk bar is nougat, or at least a simulation. However, that's brown nougat. The type of nougat we're looking at today is white nougat, which is quite different.
Ganong's Roman Nougat is, as I said, white nougat, made Ganong Bros. of New Brunswick, Canada. It's a soft, chewy, white substance, similar to toffee. The gimmick for Roman Nougat is to scatter colourful chunks of artificial fruit throughout the nougat. There are three flavours of fruit, orange, lemon, and lime, all of which taste exactly like the usual simulated candy flavours as typified in 2-cent suckers. The nougat itself is unflavoured, except by the sugar.

Nutritional information per 40g bar:
150 Calories
0g Fat
4mg Sodium
39g Carbohydrates (28g Sugars)
1g Protein
"Not a significant source of saturated, trans. cholesterol, fibre, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium or iron."

Allergen information:
"This product is manufactured in a facility that processes peanuts and/or tree nuts."

Ingredients: Sugar, glucose (corn syrup), modified corn starch, salt, gelatin, powdered egg white (egg whites, glucose, bacterial culture, citric acid, sodium carbonate, yeast autolysate), citric acid, soya lecithin, artificial flavours, colours added (tartrazine yellow 5 lake, blue 1 lake, yellow 6). [The blue is added to the yellow to make the lime colour--there are no blue fruits chunks.]

Taste (4/5): The blobs of fruit, which are scattered throughout the nougat, have a distinctively artificial flavour. As the ingredients show, there is nothing of natural fruit in this bar. That said, these are classic candy flavours, the same artificial flavours found in cheap suckers. They are quite good in moderation. The nougat itself is sweet, but not excessively so. The lack of flavour adds a nice contrast to the flavoured 'fruit' chunks. In fact, I enjoyed the bites that lacked the fruit chunks altogether.

Smell (3/5): I didn't particularly care for the smell, although it did smell like the ingredients: sugary nougat and artificial flavours. The smell isn't strong, however.

Appearance (3.5/5): I like the plain, white colour well enough, but it doesn't make much of a spectacle of the bar. The coloured fruit chunks add spots of colour, though these are often found within the bar.

Texture (5/5): The texture is perfect. The nougat is as soft and chewy as promised and will even stick to the roof of your mouth sometimes. It melts quickly, so you needn't do much chewing if you don't care to. The candy chunks are textured more smoothly, not being made of beaten egg-white; and they blend well with the nougat's texture.

Novelty (2/5): Nougat is not particularly novel. Plain white nougat is even less so. The artificial flavours used also lack novelty. I give two novelty points because I don't recall seeing many other commercial candy products with artificial fruit chunks in nougat.

Overall (4/5): For a simple candy bar, Ganong's Roman Nougat is surprisingly good. It's not the sort of bar one would eat every day, but it has charm. I certainly recommend trying one if you find one in a store, or adding one to an existing online order.

Where can you get it?
The Candy Shoppe, in the Canadian candy sections. Roman Nougat is commercially available, however, and should not be difficult to find locally.

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