I GO NUTS FOR nougat then I LEAN BACK and love the vibe of Lanzarote
Lanzarote is festooned with maybe hundreds of ice cream parlours, many of them looking, and feeling, like the Arnold’s Diner, that many readers might remember from the tv series, Happy Days, where The Fonz and the gang would meet. Take a walk around the perimeter of Charcos de San Gines in Arrecife and you will see a score of bars catering to different demographics. Some seem to reach out to couples with babies or young children. Others seem to welcome the teenagers, and there are venues where you will see them sitting on the walls outside with the boys, skateboards under their arms, chatting up girls, who are usually dressed to the nines, who giggle, flutter their eye-lashes, speak only to each other as they savour their ice creams, offering only feigned indifference to their suitors.
Then there are places that cater for people like us,. the over seventy generation who, in England anyway, grew up on the chimes of a Mr. Whippy ice-cream van and thought the height of sophisticatiaon was a Mivi, a strawberry ice lolly with ice cream inside ! That was in the days of the classic Morecambe Wise sketch in which Eric heard a siren as a police car raced by and remarked, ´He´ll never sell ice creams going at that speed.´
Those ´99´s¨,…ice cream cornets with a chocolate flake pushed in,… and those ice cream slabs placed inside two wafers were great but ice cream presentation has improved no end since then.
In Playa Blanca, the resort town we have called home since moving here from the UK eight years ago, there is also a dozen and more ice cream parlours and a hundred more restaurants that offer great desserts served with ice-cream. We might think of that as a finer kind of dining but taste the ice cream offerings from the ice cream bars and you might change your mind.
Skyline is my favourite snack bar in town, chicken and chips, great salads and a range of baguettes etc, but when my favourite waitress, Eadie, introduced me to a new ice cream freezer they had just has installled I immediately awarded it a Warwick Michelin star. The popcorn flavoured peanut covered ice lolly with ice cream inside is to die for.
Contins. further along the strip is a place catering for our age group and the management and staff scoop generous portions of all sorts of flavoured ice cream into the bowls you order. For us to slowly eat those, as we argue over the crossword and watch the world go by is a frequent Sunday evening sunset for us.
There are also three or four ice cream stores on the Marina Rubicon at the other end of town and we have tried, and enjoyed them all, and so will continue to return to them
However, the most recent one we visited has become our firm favourite (on the island, never mind in our town), We have taken to going for a meal on Saturday night to the secluded Tabernas restaurant. Their baby veal stew, for me, and tuna in onion for my more adventurous wife, is a regular order with a couple of non alcoholic beers and a couple of glasses of dry white wine, served by cheerful and attentive staff, before we waltz off to our newly found ice cream parlour round the corner, to order our dessert and dine at a table offering a different perspective of the harbour just as the sun goes down and the lights come on. Gazing down on the range of flavours from which to order takes this seventy year old back to the age of seven, looking into the fridge at Mr. Fletcher´s newsagents in Prestwich near Manchester.
However the Antiui Xixona offers a somewhat wider and tasteier range of flavours, including my last night´s choice of ´bubblegum´´ that was a vivid Rocky Horror Show colour of blue, and tasted very sweet.
In fact, this ice cream parlour on Lanzarote has quite a story of travel and development to tell.
The history of Antiu Xixona began as part of the aspirations and great work of a family, which evolved gradually. They are the dream within a marriage formed by Vicente Sanchis Monerris and María Teresa Mira Brotóns. Together they prepared nougat in the most traditional way and sold it in the doorway of one of the houses on Las Ramblas, in Barcelona, opening in 1863. Over time, the family grew and 6 children were born, of which 5 followed in the footsteps of their parents, dedicating themselves to the preparation and sale of nougat. So for several years they were in charge of filling the tables of the Spaniards with this wonderful dessert and, of course, animating the parties.
It should be noted that as part of his economic strategies, Vicente Sanchis Monerris made trips to Cuba. It is in Havana, where he sells his artisan product. After his children grew up, two of them continued to make the trips to the island every year. Their customers came to buy the product in the streets.
However, some time later the eldest son of the family, Vicente, married in 1888 a lady from Jijona, Brígida Coloma Morales. From there he separated from the family business to start his own nougat factory. His own family grows and 5 boys and a girl are born. As they grow up, they all follow in the footsteps of their grandfather and his father.
This is reflected in the company of his eldest son on the trips he continues to make to Cuba, when he is barely 12 years old. These journeys are intended to train the child in the family business. As the children grow up, she couple built several Antiu Xixona stalls for sale in Barcelona and a space that serves as a home and factory. There all the children became equal partners.
The company grew over time and sales of nougats increased in regions such as Catalonia. In the same way sales increased in Cuba and later they expanded their market to the United States.
Later, the war in Spain began, but when it endeds, Turrones Antiu Xixona resumed sales, despite the fact that the raw materials could no longer be found with the previous frequency and quantity. But they continued to advance and the brand was further consolidated in the Catalan and Hispanic American markets.
The brand continued its harvest of successes and in 1966 it merged with the group or brand La Fama, becoming more prosperous and increasing its production. They even gained a place among the list of the first producers of nougat for that time. Currently, Antiu Xixona and La Fama are part of the Sanchis Mira group.
The products of this brand preserve the tradition or style of the nougat that was manufactured in antiquity by its predecessors. They combine traditional and historical techniques with today’s technologies.
Likewise, Antiu Xixona offers many options. Well, the brand has two ranges or lines, one is the black label and the other is the red label. The first one brings together the typical and popular nougats from Jijona and Alicante, as well as Yolk Nougat, Fruit Nougat and Chocolate with almonds. All these accompanied by cakes such as Torta Suprema and Torta Lata.
As for the red label line, Jijona and Alicante nougats are also available. In addition to Fruit Nougat, Toasted Cream Nougat, Nut Cream Nougat and Coconut Nougat. With respect to the cakes, they offer a variation such as the Turrón Torta de Alicante.
The entire history of Antiu Xixona is the reflection of a long history and a great legacy. It is part of the sweet shop of Spain. It is important to highlight that although the Sanchis Mira group is made up of several brands, Antiu Xixona is one of the most important within this company. It has sales not only in Spain, but also in different countries.
There is no doubt that the gastronomic history of Spain is linked to the birth and evolution of its nougat manufacturing companies. In general terms, the Antiu Xixona Nougat brand is a sample of the culture that originated from the last century and that prevails with the same force over the years and all generations.
An interesting fact is that the reins of the company continue with a descendant of these families that started the project so many years ago. Giving proof that the principles of the company are maintained as from its origin, with a high sense of belonging and an important value to the family. Well, this was the first step for its formation.
In any case, all that remains is to venture into the flavors of this dessert and learn about the entire culinary tradition of Spain. Which is also loaded with innumerable delicious features, always with a balance between the past and the present.
In summary, Spain offers one of the best desserts in the world, the nougat is simply unique. Its consistency, flavor, aroma and other qualities make it stand out in the most privileged confectionery. For this reason, so many brands like this have opted for its production. In the company of other companies such as nougat el lobo, nougat lacasa, nougat jijona, among others.
At the same time, the nougat is very old but it has managed to position itself over time, remaining as strong today as yesterday and no wonder. Both in December and winter days as at any other time of the year, a nougat always goes well.
The parlour on the church, with its brightly lit clean premises and its assorted tables for al fresco ice cream and nougat dining is, as our photos show, ideally situated with great views !