Five generations of nougat

Discovering the Scaldaferro, a family creating a delicious Christmas sweet for almost a century

06-12-2012

The almond mixture in the traditional copper pot at Torronificio Scaldaferro in Dolo (Venezia), +39.041.410467, established in the distant 1919

Walking the banks of the river Brenta at sunset is the best way to conclude a long day of work: the alternation of Venetian villas overlooking the river evokes the glorious past of the Most Serene Republic and takes the mind back to the stories of the splendour of Venetian nobility. It was here that in 1890 Marco Scaldaferro decided to open a small pastry shop: in Mira Porte, to be precise. This was a strategic location where people from Venice would moor their boats, and while they waited, they went into the shop to stock up on delicacies, attracted by the aroma of biscuits and cakes.

In 1919, the nougat workshop was also established. Through the years it was passed from one generation onto the other, an important inheritance but, at the same time, a demanding challenge, which Pietro accepted in 1998. In every corner, the nougat workshops shows traces of the history of the Scaldaferro family, starting from the old copper pots, dated 1930, still used to knead the nougat, wrapped up only after 10 hours of patient work. At the entrance of the workshop, the scents and the heat welcome and inebriate the visitor: honey and sugar are cooked in a bain-marie to avoid a too high temperature that would compromise the aromas, then they’re assembled with the egg white which, upon contact with the hot mixture, puffs up like a soft white cloud. For about 6 /7 hours the mixture continues to be mixed in the copper pots, thanks to the work of a mechanical arm that allows it to dry.

Hand-laying, flake by flake

Hand-laying, flake by flake

Finally it’s time for the nuts: they are added to the knead after having been toasted and partially cooled down in jute sacks. The soft and creamy mixture is extracted while still hot and divided by the skilful hands of the women who lay it, flake by flake, in the moulds. It is precisely this step, typical of an artisanal work in which handwork cannot be substituted, that guarantees the friability and volume of the nougat. But as well as the clever work, the selection of unparalleled raw materials also characterises Scaldaferro’s nougat, like the Italian nuts, among which we can find “cinqueacinque” almonds, the organic honey, picked in distant corners of the country, or the egg white from free-range eggs.

Throughout the years, research went beyond the nonetheless appreciated classic version of nougat, also including some limited editions. These comprise small production quantities – only 2500 pieces per type – prepared with a waxing moon to facilitate the growth of the knead. With 8 combinations very different from one another, they express elegant and unusual nuances of taste and scents, obtained thanks to the use of rare mono-flower honeys and nuts. They range from decisively brave pairings, such as Sicilian orange-honey, almonds and Sechuan pepper, to the delicately citrusy balance of coriander honey paired with Bronte pistachios.

Finally, a special mention goes to a limited edition that induces the mind and the palate to recall the nearby lagoon: “barena” honey – extracted from a plant that naturally grows on the island of Sant’Erasmo – paired with “tondina” almonds. The pungent aroma and the decisive sapidity of the honey characterise this nougat in a very original way. There’s something to suit everybody’s fancy.

Torronificio Scaldaferro
via Cà Tron, 31
Dolo (Venezia)
+39.041.410467
info@scaldaferro.it