3.5 oz bar
In France, everyone associates the southern town of Montélimar with nougat
, that delicious confection of honey, sugar, egg whites and roasted almonds. Nougat has long been produced in Montélimar, but fame arrived in the 19th century, when both train travel and vacation time for workers became de rigueur in France. When trains en route to Mediterranean beaches stopped at Montélimar, the travel-weary passengers bought nougat for a pick-me-up snack.
Since 1837, the artisanal Arnaud Soubeyran
company has produced authentic
Montélimar nougat there, using straightforward, pure ingredients and old-fashioned techniques. Today, the small factory still uses copper caldrons to cook the nougat; when it's ready, it's laid out and cut on marble slabs.
To earn the designation "nougat de Montélimar," nougat must follow certain specifications regarding proportions of ingredients, including a certain amount of "miel toutes fleurs" - mixed-flower honey. At Arnaud Soubeyran, this "toutes fleurs" honey comes locally from Provence, as does the lavender honey also used.
If you ever find yourself in Montélimar, stop by for a visit! Arnaud Soubeyran offers a terrific little museum where you can watch nougat-making in progress, as well as learn about the process - starting with entering a walk-in model of a beehive to learn about honey! - and check out all sorts of antique nougat-making gadgets.