When it comes to German Christmas specialties, marzipan (Marzipan) takes all manner of forms. There are simple balls of the almond and sugar delicacy dusted with cocoa powder and cinnamon (known as Marzipankartoffel, or marzipan potatoes); and small loaves of the stuff, either plain or covered in chocolate and flavoured with anything from cranberries to rum (Marzipanbrot – marzipan bread). More colourful options include marzipan formed into various animal shapes, in particular pigs, which are traditionally a symbol of good luck often given as a gift at New Year. Marzipan is also an ingredient in Stollen and Dominosteine, and if you fancy a tipple, you can even find it in liqueur form (Marzipanlikör).
Marzipan is available all over Germany, but it’s considered a specialty of the north German city of Lübeck. Lübecker Marzipan holds Protected Geographical Indication, an EU classification requiring the whole product to be traditionally and at least partially manufactured in Lübeck for it to be called as such. The city is home to Niederegger, Germany’s most famous high quality marzipan brand, which has been made there since 1806.
M is also for…
Mozartskugeln (Mozart balls): named after the Austrian composer, these bite-sized balls of pistachio, marzipan and nougat coated in chocolate were invented by a confectioner in Salzburg, Austria, in 1890. They are hugely popular in Germany at Christmastime.
Mandeln (almonds): candied almonds (gebrannte Mandeln) are ubiquitous at German Christmas markets throughout Advent.
Maronen: roasted chestnuts are another Christmas market classic, shovelled into paper bags fresh off a hotplate to warm your hands (and belly) with as you browse for souvenirs.