While most people think of Switzerland and Belgium when it comes to luxury chocolate supplies, things might be about to change. |
Spanish company Mi & Cu Gourmet is giving those traditional chocolate-making countries a run for their money with its deluxe confectioneries, made from coating the famous Spanish Marcona almond with a variety of high-quality chocolate.
We all know that the ‘Mediterranean diet’ is famously healthy but, up until now, that’s had very little to do with the confectionery industry. But Mi & Cu Gourmet is looking to change that by introducing the healthy Marcona almond, traditionally served in Spain roasted in olive oil and served with cheese, into the sweet sector. The way the Barcelona-based confectionery company has done this is by cleverly coating the almonds with delicious chocolate. Supplies of the distinctive sweet, creamy Marcona almond are predominantly imported from Spain, making these chocolate-coated nuts an authentically Mediterranean treat.
Branded as Mircus, these gourmet almond confections are coated in a variety of different flavours from dark and milk chocolate to gianduja, praline, strawberry yogurt, and a range of traditional hard-shell coatings, which are marketed as sweet ‘pebbles’.
The Marcona Almond
Well known to Spanish tapas lovers, the local Marcona almond has been traditionally served in Spain as an accompaniment to cheese. But in recent years, as the popularity of Spanish cuisine has grown around the world, the reputation of this humble snack has begun to spread.
Compared to the more common Californian and Australian almonds, the Spanish Marcona almond, often referred to as the ‘Queen of Almonds’, is smaller, rounder and flatter than its ‘new world’ counterparts. But the most significant difference is in the taste: the Marcona almond is much more moist, giving it a creamy texture and has a much sweeter flavour. It is this sweetness which makes it the perfect ingredient in a confectionery treat.
Health Benefits of Almonds
Almonds have been promoted recently by healthcare specialists as a perfect, healthy snack thanks to their rich vitamin make up, and the Marcona almond boasts all these same health benefits.
• Almonds are high in vitamin E – A fat-soluble antioxidant, vitamin E gathers in cell membranes to protect against oxidative damage. • Almonds are helpful in controlling blood sugar levels – The high level of magnesium in almonds make them helpful in maintaining blood sugar levels. • Helps to lower blood pressure – A deficiency in magnesium can cause raised blood pressure which can be reduced by eating almonds. • Can aid in lowering cholesterol – Studies have shown that eating almonds can reduce ‘bad’ cholesterol while at the same time increasing ‘good’ cholesterol. • Can suppress appetite – The high levels of protein and fibre in almonds can play a role in increasing the feeling of being ‘full’ after eating.
The combination of delicious creamy texture, sweet nuttiness and rich chocolate may just mean that the Spanish almond is, at last, making its mark on the confectionery market. Forget your chocolate supplies, your marshmallows and your toffees, it may well be a Marcona almond you reach for next time you’re looking for a sweet treat.
Angelina Moufftard works for hf Chocolates, established providers of wholesale chocolate supplies with decades of experience supplying sweets and high-end chocolates to retailers across the UK. Working with the most dedicated suppliers from France, Spain, Germany, Holland, Belgium, the USA and the UK, hf Chocolates' great tasting and beautifully packaged products add panache to any sweet display.
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