My Partner in crime has made a trip south to partake in an adorable and delightful Norwegian tradition with her family, known as Marzipan making. Now, the dictionary states, "Marzipan is a confection consisting primarily of sugar and almond meal. Some marzipan is flavored with rosewater. Persipan is a similar, yet less expensive product, for which the almonds are replaced by apricot or peach kernels.". Of course I know and love it as the edible molding clay. People tend to make beautiful fruits and vegetables (traditionally that it is) with their marzipan, and often dip it into chocolate. It's even rolled thin and used for icing on cakes.
A little history on the treat, "The art of combining ground almonds and sugar into a paste is over 1000 years old and originated in the Orient. It is believed to have been brought to Europe by Arabs through Spain. There, it grew quickly in popularity as a dessert, but only for royalty and the wealthy because of the extremely high price for sugar. It wasn't until the beginning of the 19th century that sugar prices came down and marzipan became a dessert more people could afford.
Marzipan was also used for medicinal purposes well into the 18th century. It was used both as a way to make bitter pills more palatable, as well as medicine for specific illnesses. It was known as "energy bread," "heart sugar," and "marzipan for the sick."
Commercial production of marzipan in Germany dates back to 1806 in the city of Lübeck. The Niederegger Bakery began the tradition here and many other bakeries soon followed to make Lübeck the "Marzipan Capital." Today, Lübeck marzipan is known worldwide for its excellence and consistent quality."
Marzipan is not unique to Germany. It is made in the United States, Austria, Italy (Marzapane), Spain (Mazapan), Denmark (Marcipan), Portugal (Maçapão), Latin America (Mazapán), the Middle-East (Lozina), and many other counties.
We like it made in Norway ;).
Though through my browsing on the world wide web, I found some amazing pieces I felt I should share with you, so you can get as excited about marzipan as we are. It's a whole new medium for me, though I haven't gotten to make it yet, I hope to play soon.
(if you click the title it will bring you to wikipedia, where you can learn more.)