One of the sweetest days of the year, National Marzipan Day, is on January 12. Marzipan is a confection consisting primarily of sugar or honey and ground almonds, sometimes augmented with almond oil or extract. This treat is so special that the Persians and Italians claim the credit for its invention.
History of National Marzipan Day
Marzipan might be a hard name to remember, but its taste is guaranteed to leave you wanting more. Marzipan is a light and tasty confection that uses ground Almonds, sugar or honey, and some binding agents like corn syrup to give it a flexible texture. It is commonly filled with chocolate, turned into fruit and vegetable imitations, or converted into thin sheets of glaze for icing cakes.
The origins of Marzipan aren’t entirely clear, but culinary historians have traced its most likely place of origin to Persia. But there is compelling evidence in support of Spain being the original creators of Marzipan. Marzipan, it is believed, was brought into Europe by the Turks through trade routes. During this era, the Hanseatic League transported great quantities of it, making it a staple of most of the towns throughout Europe. The cities of Lübeck and Tallinn have a proud tradition of marzipan manufacture and produce the highest quality of marzipans with a specific amount of almonds.
Marzipan in the United States is not officially defined, but it is generally made with a higher ratio of sugar to almonds than almond paste. Normally, to make marzipan, raw almonds are cleaned and blanched, and are then introduced to the rotating cylinders to rid their skins. It is followed by coarsely chopping the almonds and grinding them to paste with 35% of sugar. They are further roasted and cooled. Sugar and the binding agent are finally added to give a flexible texture, which can be shaped into almost anything — usually fruits or vegetables
There is no specific history for the creation of National Marzipan Day, but it is celebrated annually on January 12.
National Marzipan Day timeline
The Turks introduce marzipan to Europeans.
The maritime republic in Venice is among the few to find the rarest and most valuable ingredients such as sugar and almonds, at the base of the preparation.
Marzipan shaped into fruit is invented by the nuns of the convent of Santa Maria dell’Ammiraglio.
The Niederegger in Lübeck Germany popularizes marzipans.
National Marzipan Day FAQs
Does marzipan contain alcohol?
No, it doesn’t. It’s purely ground almond paste.
What does marzipan taste like?
Marzipan has a nutty flavor derived from the almonds in the mixture and is very sweet.
What is marzipan called in America?
In Latin American cuisine, marzipan is known by the Spanish word ‘mazapán’ and is also traditionally eaten at Christmas.
National Marzipan Day Activities
Enjoy some marzipan
You can’t celebrate National Marzipan Day without actually having some marzipan. So today, make sure you go out to a local bakery that sells the delicious treat and get yourself some.
Create some marzipan
Buy some premade marzipan that hasn’t yet been set, and really stretch your creativity by creating all manner of marzipan creations. It can be molded into any number of fun and interesting shapes. Gather some friends and family, get some food coloring, and go wild.
Give out some marzipan
Buy some marzipan to share with friends, family, or anyone that might be interested, including the less fortunate. If you’re opting to make some yourself, make sure to make some extra to go around.
5 Fun Facts About Marzipan You Should Know
It used to be a medical prescription
Marzipan was prescribed as a medicine for mental and physical ailments during the Middle Ages.
Good for your brain
Marzipan is good for your brain health because almonds contain large amounts of lecithin responsible for stimulating the nerve cells.
Quality is key
For a confection to qualify as marzipan, it must meet the required percentage of almonds prescribed and regulated by the manufacturers’ country.
They used to be only for royals
The figures made from marzipan sugar paste and jellies were presented at the end of a medieval feast to royals.
Confectioners recognize only two methods
Confectioners only recognize the German and the French methods of making marzipan.
Why We Love National Marzipan Day
It’s a great reason to have sweet treats
If you have a sweet tooth, then today is your lucky day. On National Marzipan Day, you can have as many sweet treats as you want, which is usually frowned upon on regular days.
Marzipan is fun
Marzipan can be formed into any shape or color of your choice. This makes it a very fun activity to do with family or group.
It’s an opportunity to learn about marzipan
A lot of people may not even know what marzipan is, or have eaten it without even knowing what it is. This day raises awareness and allows us to find out more about the delicious treat.
National Marzipan Day dates