Marzipan, a very ancient sweet tradition

Since the Arabic domination to the present days, marzipan has always been the main character of festivities.

The term ‘marzipan‘ comes from Arabic maw-thabán, the name of a middle-eastern silver coin that corresponded to a certain quantity of a sweet dough made with sugar, almonds and rose water.

The origins of marzipan can be traced in the period of Crusades, when the Arabic and eastern influences came all over Europe and in particularly in Sicily during the Arabic domination.

They enriched the Sicilian gastronomy of spices (cinnamon, pepper, cardamom, sesame), cereals (cous cous) and sweet preparations made of honey, as marzipan.

Sweet Traditions

For what concerns Sicily, Palermo can be defined the birthplace of marzipan, but this dough is known and diffused in the whole region. During Christmas time, from the 2nd of November on, it is used to make a dough with the shape of fruits called ‘Frutta Martorana‘ and during Easter time, marzipan is shaped into a sheep called ‘pecorella‘.


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Un post condiviso da Pamela Romano (@iampamelaromano)

Marzipan is known almost everywhere but obviously its preparation changes based on the country it is made in. For example in the United Kingdom, it is used to make fruit cakes and it is called marzipan, in South America and Spain, it takes the name of marzapan and it is a traditional sweet of Christmas time, even if sometimes almonds can be replaced by pine nuts or peanuts.

In Germany and Norway marzipan is used to make Glücksschwein that is a lucky marzipan charm with the shape of a pig, a traditional gift for New Year.

Lübeck’s Marzipan

Speaking of Germany, the beautiful medieval city Lübeck, it’s known as the homeland of marzipan. Here you can taste this most delicious and famous sweet, made since 1800 by the Niederegger family. Niederegger is a symbol of quality, its marzipan is soft, tasty and not too sweet. Unlike other recipes, German marzipan and specifically the Niederegger’s one, it’s made with rose water that softens the dough and makes its flavour less strong.

Niederegger‘s marzipan shop is situated in Breite Strasse 89, with a marvellous museum at the second floor where visitors can enter for free and dive in the interesting and sweet history of this delight.


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Un post condiviso da Cova Morales (@comoju)


Marzipan is really easy to make and doesn’t have many ingredients:

Almond flour 125g

Powdered sugar 125

Pasteurised egg white 30g

Almond aroma 5-6 drops

But you can swap every ingredient based on your taste! Follow this Italian recipe and give your Christmas a twist!

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