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Fruits made from marzipan

Marzipan ( that or that ) is a confectionery made from ground almonds , sugar and - depending on its origin - added flavorings . The mass made from blanched and peeled almonds and sugar is called marzipan raw mass ; the ratio of raw mass and further added sugar determines the quality of the marzipan. The Lübeck marzipan , the Mazapán de Toledo from Toledo ( Spain ) and the Königsberg marzipan are world-famous .


Spanish Mazapán

The origin of the word marzipan is still controversial today. What is certain is that the word was borrowed from the Italian marzapane in the 16th century . There have been and still are numerous speculations and hypotheses about further etymology, including derivations from the Latin Marci panis ("Markusbrot"), the Persian marzbān or märzäpan (" Margrave " - see also the Arabic proper names Mortaza ) or the Greek maza or massa ( "Flour porridge"). In Spain , the vernacular points to the sight of the basic mass for making Turron de Jijona and Mazapán as Massa de Pan , i.e. a bread dough.

According to a theory published in 1904, marzapane is derived from the Venetian matapan , a Venetian coin that was first minted in 1193. Its name is said to be derived from the Arabic mautaban after the verb wataba ("to sit still"), which means "one who does not leave his place". At the time of the Crusades, this is said to have been the mockery of a king who sat idly on his throne and did not fight his enemies, and also for a Byzantine coin that showed a figure of Christ sitting on the throne on one side . This theory is based on the post-classical Latin word marzapanus , which has only been handed down in a single Syrian source and denotes a tithe tax . On the island of Cyprus it was said to have specifically referred to a box that contained the tenth part of a Malters (old grain measure). In the 14th century, the name was no longer used for the box, but for the contents, marzipan. For phonetic reasons, however, this theory is problematic, and the change in meaning appears to be quite unlikely.

According to another theory, marzapane is ultimately derived from the Burmese city ​​of Martaban , which was and is known for the ceramic pots made there, in which various spices and sweets were stored and sold. In Persian, Arabic and Urdu , the toponym martaban became the term for jugs and in the late Middle Ages it was also borrowed from various Romance languages with this and similar meanings ; a transfer of meaning from the vessel to the contents could thus be considered as an explanation for the name of the candy.


Cultural historians largely agree that marzipan has its origins in the Orient , even if a local legend is said to have originated in Lübeck after 1407 . This “bread” is said to have been invented there after a famine when there was only sugar and almonds in the city. The same is reported from Königsberg in 1409. The legend is not plausible because almonds and sugar were very valuable in the Middle Ages and could have been exchanged for larger quantities of bread or fish at any time.

Marzipan was probably first made in Persia , today's Iran . It came to Europe with the Arabs in the Middle Ages , through Spain, where it actually only became popular. The "Mazapán de Toledo" is still one of the most famous in the world today. In Venice it was mentioned as Marzapane in the 13th century. In the 14th century, marzipan was very popular as a confectionery among the European nobility . It was initially made by pharmacists, like other confectionery. During this time, the sweet dough made from almonds, sugar and rose water was sold as a medicine against constipation, flatulence and as a sexual enhancer.

At the time of Baroque discovered confectioner marzipan as modeling for artistic showpieces. In 1514 the city of Venice banned the gilding of marzipan as an exaggerated luxury. According to Merck's product lexicon from 1920, the name marzipan can be found in Lübeck guild rolls around 1530. “When beet sugar production provided the corresponding raw material basis in the first half of the 19th century, marzipan began to become bourgeois. The almonds were delivered from overseas, they were processed fresh, and so the Lübeck and Königsberg marzipan were famous as early as 1820 because the confectioners used the convenient location in the port cities. "

Marzipan pigs are given away as a lucky charm

In 1806 two confectioners independently founded the first marzipan factories in German-speaking countries. In Reval (Estonian Tallinn / Estonia) the Swiss confectioner Lorenz Caviezel and in Lübeck Johann Georg Niederegger . Today there is disagreement between Lübeck and Tallinn as to who exactly the invention of marzipan goes back to. Since both cities were members of the Hanseatic League and there was a regular exchange of craftsmen and merchants, the ultimate origin will probably no longer be exactly clear.

In Franconian cities like Nuremberg in the 17th and 18th centuries, marzipan was given for Christmas in models made of wood, tin or clay in order to obtain shapes and figures. Often there were biblical motifs, but also coats of arms, later farmers, craftsmen, hearts or diamonds. The Nuremberg patricians had their family coats of arms made from marzipan, which they gave away to friends.


The production of ready-to-sell marzipan from marzipan raw mass is carried out according to German food law by kneading with powdered sugar in a ratio of maximum 1: 1 (quality level 50/50). The lower the sugar content, the higher the quality of marzipan. The enzyme invertase is often incorporated here. This improves the freshness by breaking down the beet sugar to invert sugar .

In addition to German marzipan, French marzipan (le massepain), which is produced a little differently, also plays an important role internationally. In France, sugar syrup is used for production , which is heated together with crushed almonds until a viscous mass is formed. The result is a finer marzipan mixture, lighter in color and less flavorful.

Marzipan is offered in many forms and as an ingredient in many products, such as marzipan fruits, marzipan bread, Mozart balls and dominoes . In the bakery and pastry shop you will find a wide variety of items such as almond croissants, marzipan rolls or pralines with different fillings. Decorated cakes are very popular on special occasions and are covered with thin marzipan and decorated with marzipan fruits, flowers or figures.

Marzipan has a very high physiological calorific value . The quality level 50/50 has a calorific value of 2,035  kJ / 100 g (= 486  kcal / 100 g).

The aroma of marzipan results for the most part from the aromas of the almonds used or their roast aromas. Benzaldehyde is an important component of the aroma

Marzipan paste

Turkish marzipan in the shop window of Caferzade , Istanbul

Marzipan raw mass consists of two parts of ground almonds and one part of sugar, which are heated while stirring (technically: "roasted") in order to reduce the water content.

Flow diagram:

  1. Selection of the almonds, cleaning and peeling. The almonds are scalded with hot water (98 ° C) and peeled in a peeler with rubber rollers.
  2. Mix and rub. First, the almonds are roughly grated with the sugar content, then finely rolled between porcelain rollers. The mass must not heat up too much, otherwise the almond oil would leak out.
  3. Roasting. In traditional production, "roasting" takes place using steam in open kettles at temperatures between 90 and 95 ° C, in modern production in closed systems at around 105 ° C.
  4. Cooling and packing. The mass is cooled by supplying sterile air, then portioned and vacuum packed.

The (optional) addition of invert sugar syrup before roasting causes a slight caramelization . Rose water can be added to round off the taste. The exact composition, the proportion of sweet and bitter almonds , the sugar content and the additives vary from manufacturer to manufacturer and are usually a trade secret.

The "Guiding principles for oil seeds and masses and confectionery made from them" of the German Food Book reflect the general public opinion of the composition of marzipan raw mass . Accordingly, marzipan is made from blanched / peeled almonds and meets the following requirements.

  • It contains a maximum of 17% water.
  • The proportion of added sugar is a maximum of 35%, based on the marzipan raw mass with 17% moisture content.
  • The almond oil content is at least 28%, based on the marzipan raw mass with 17% moisture content.
  • The total content of blanched / peeled bitter almonds may be up to 12% of the almond weight (for the MI variety, see below for commercial varieties).
  • It is not necessary to identify the proportion of bitter almonds .
  • Debittered bitter almonds and mountain almonds must not be used.

There are the following commercial types for marzipan paste:

  • M00 (M-zero-zero): Made from selected almonds from Mediterranean countries , which contain a natural bitter almond content of 2-3%
  • M0 (M-zero): Up to 5% added bitter almonds
  • MI (M-Eins): Up to 12% added bitter almonds and broken almonds
  • MF: With fructose
  • MFS: With sorbitol


  • "Niederegger Marzipan" consists of 100% marzipan raw mass (100/0).
  • "Lübecker Edelmarzipan" is a protected designation of origin ( PGI ) and may only be worn by marzipan products that were made in Lübeck or certain places in the area. It contains at least 90% marzipan paste and a maximum of 10% added sugar (90/10).
  • "Gütemarzipan" contains at least 80% raw marzipan paste and a maximum of 20% added sugar (80/20).
  • “Ordinary” fine marzipan, which also includes the protected “ Lübeck Marzipan ”, contains at least 70% raw marzipan and a maximum of 30% added sugar (70/30).
  • Finally, “ordinary” marzipan only contains at least 50% raw marzipan paste, with a maximum of 50% added sugar (50/50).
  • Königsberger Marzipan ” is just a generic name . It can be made anywhere. Flaming the surface is typical ; therefore it has a characteristic yellowish-brownish hue. Rose water is added to the classic Königsberg marzipan when it is turned on ; filled with fondant , it is available as confectionery .
  • In Spain , “Marzipan from Toledo” is a protected designation of origin that refers to the province of Toledo .
  • In Italy , marzipan production is typical for Apulia and the frutta martorana from Sicily .

similar products

Mozart balls filled with green pistachio marzipan
  • Persipan is similar to marzipan and is made from peach and apricot kernels. It is mainly used as a filling for baked products, but not in pralines. The dominoes , which are mostly available during the Christmas season, are an exception .
  • Green marzipan is made with 4 to 8% pistachios. For example, this raw mass is processed into Mozart balls.
  • Brazil nut marzipan - and gross weight of various nuts (Brazil nut, pistachio, almond) - found in chocolate specialties in Peru and other countries use.
  • Resipan was Persipan produced in the GDR, in which corn semolina with sugar and aroma was processed due to a shortage of raw materials and later due to shortages in corn, potato semolina with sugar and aroma was processed into nakapan .
  • In the GDR, Legupan was a marzipan substitute made from pea pulp and sugar. Legupan was greenish in color.
  • Calisson : Confectionery from Provence in the shape of a shuttle , with almonds and candied melons and oranges
  • Halva (or Helva ): Made from sesame seeds
  • Nougat : Instead of almonds, roasted nuts, mostly hazelnuts , are used
  • Turrón from Xixona : Spanish relatives of marzipan and nougat (not to be confused with the turrón from Alicante ). They consist of almond paste, sugar and other ingredients such as honey, egg white or lemon peel .
  • Grisons peach stones , a specialty of the city of Chur
  • Lungauer Rahmkoch, a cream mixture with anise and cinnamon from Salzburg's Lungau


  • Marzipan - sweet temptation. Documentary, Germany, 2011, 43:30 min., Script and director: Andreas Gräfenstein , production: NDR , arte , series: Culinary Pleasures, first broadcast: December 8, 2006 by arte, summary by arte

Web links

Commons : Marzipan  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Marzipan  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations


Individual evidence

  1. Entry in Duden
  2. ^ A. Kluyver: Marzipan . In: Journal for German Word Research 6, 1904. pp. 59–68.
  3. ^ Marzipan ( Memento from August 7, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) . In: Adolf Beythien, Ernst Dressler (Ed.): Merck's Lexicon of Goods for Trade, Industry and Commerce. 7th edition. Gloeckner, Leipzig 1920. (Reprint: Manuscriptum, Recklinghausen 1996. ISBN 3-933497-13-2 )
  4. ^ Hannsferdinand Döbler: Culture and moral history of the world. Cooking skills and culinary delights. Bertelsmann Verlag, Gütersloh 1972, p. 341.
  5. ^ Alan Davidson: The Oxford Companion to Food. 2nd Edition. New York 2001, article marzipan
  6. German Research Institute for Food Chemistry, Garching (ed.): Food table for practice . The little souci · specialist · herb. 4th edition. Wissenschaftliche Verlagsgesellschaft mbH, Stuttgart 2009, ISBN 978-3-8047-2541-6 , p. 410 .
  7. Alyson E. Mitchell: Beyond benzaldehyde: The chemistry of raw, roasted and rancid almonds . In: Abstracts of Papers, 253rd ACS National Meeting & Exposition, San Francisco, CA, United States, April 2-6, 2017 . tape 253 , 2017, p. AGFD-170 .
  8. Friedrich Holtz a. a .: Textbook of the pastry shop . 5th edition. Trauner, Linz 2009, ISBN 978-3-85499-367-4 , pp. 151 .
  9. German food book, guidelines for oil seeds and masses and sweets made from them from 17./18. September 1991, Section II B, No. 1