Jijona’s economy relies on the industry based on two traditional products, turrón (a kind of nougat) and ice cream.
To speak of turrón is to speak of Jijona. Turrón is a dessert of Arab origin made of sugar, honey and almonds which has crossed borders and conquered palates throughout the world. It is a typical treat at Christmas time but it is eaten throughout the year in many different ways. Turrón-making has very ancient origins and its production in Jijona has been documented from the middle of the XVI century.
Since the beginning of the last century and particularly during the 40s with the industrialisation of production, turrón along with ice cream, has overtaken agriculture as the driving force behind the local economy. Nowadays the turrón factories have joined forces through the creation of the “Consejo Regulador de Jijona y Turrón de Alicante” and their production now accounts for almost 60% of the total national production and an important volume of exports.
The existence of snow wells (end of the XVIII century) in the Carrasqueta mountain range proves not only the importance of the commercialisation of ice in the area for the conservation of foodstuffs but also the importance of ice cream. The first production was handmade and very limited in quantity but the rapid development of the refrigeration industry during the twentieth century allowed ice cream to acquire the importance which it has today.
The seasonal nature of turrón production meant that a large number of Jijonencos took to making a living through the production of artisan-made ice cream throughout the whole of Spain in a dynamic, thoroughly modern sector. A measure of this dynamism can be found in the National Ice-cream Producers Association (ANHCEA) which has its headquarters in Jijona and, since 1980, has organized the International Artisan-made Ice Cream Fair (INTERGELAT).