Marzipan - Gourmet Guide

June 12, 2019 | By Dave Mattingly

Marzipan Candy is a typical European treat made from almonds, often coated with chocolate or colored and shaped into fruits, pigs or bars. Marzipan itself is a paste made from ground almonds and sugar. Marzipan has the soft pliable consistency of dough, which allows it to be easily rolled, molded and cut. Marzipan is often used as icing for cakes, a confectionary decoration, a filling for chocolates or eaten on its own as candy.

Many theories exist as to the origins of Marzipan. Some say Marzipan originated in the Orient or the Middle East. Others believe that Marzipan (often misspelled as marzapan) originated in Italy several hundred years ago during a major drought. As a result of this drought, the only substantial crop to survive was the almond crop. Out od need, Italians found all kinds of ways to use and eat almonds and through some trial and error, Marzipan was created. During this time, sugar was rare and expensive, so Marzipan only graced the tables of nobility and the wealthy.

Throughout the world, each country has its traditional uses for Marzipan. The Belgians, experts at chocolate making, got in on the act and have become famous for Marzipan fruits and candies. Italians often paint Marzipan to resemble fruit, while regions in Spain form Marzipan into animal shapes and fill them with egg yolks and sugar. In Germany, Marzipan is molded into the shape of pigs and given as New Years gifts. In England, Marzipan is commonly used to ice fruitcakes.

Today, the German city of Lubeck is known as the Marzipan Capital of the World. Since 1996 “Lubeck Marzipan” has been given protected status by the European Union as a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI). This restricts the production of Lubeck Marzipan to certain areas in the Lubeck region. Lubeck Marzipan also must contain no more that 54.5% sugar. The finest Marzipan made in Lubeck, Germany uses the best Mediterranean almonds, pure sugar and a precise roasting temperature.

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