Join millions of people across the nation on January 12 as they participate in the annual National Marzipan Day.
For anyone who does not know, Marzipan is a confection made primarily of sugar or honey and ground almonds, sometimes augmented with almond oil or extract. Although it is often made into sweets such as marzipan-filled chocolate and small imitations of fruits and vegetables, it is also commonly rolled into thin sheets and used as a glaze for icing cakes. Marzipan is also known to be shaped into small figures of animals, which in some countries is a favorite tradition on New Year’s Day.
The origins of Marzipan aren’t entirely clear, but culinary historians have traced its most likely place of origin as Persia. From there it traveled through the various trade routes to become a staple of European cuisine, most likely having first been brought there by the Turks. During this era the Hanseatic League, a trade confederation of towns rather than people, transported great quantities of it, making it a staple of most of the towns that called the Hanseatic League their own.
The towns of Lubeck and Tallinn are particularly proud of their history and tradition of marzipan manufacture, and quality and almond content are taken very seriously. While Persia is the most likely place for it to have found its start, there is also ample evidence that Spain either developed a version of its own, or was the actual starting place of this confectionary treat.
- In the Middle Ages, marzipan was sold by pharmacists. They recommended it as a medicine for treating physical and mental disorders.
- In Russia, marzipan became known from tales of Andersen, Hoffmann and Grimm brothers, where it symbolizes the children’s happiness and magic.
- The world’s largest pistachio marzipan sweet weighed 9,255 lb 14 oz and was made by 225 chefs in an event organised by Spacetel Syria at Hamadanya Stadium, Aleppo, Syria on 1 July 2003.