Marzipan tasting in Lübeck

culinary tours germany lübeck
Historic harbour at the Trave in Lübeck

Lübeck for Foodies

Lübeck is not only the undeniable „Queen of the Hanseatic League“, it´s also the home of Marzipan and still hosts the best Marzipan factories. When it comes to hand crafted, high quality Marzipan, it doesn´t take much to figure out that Niedegger is the most famous and biggest producer. But next to no one knows that there are seven other Marzipan producers in town and only by making a blind test, you have a chance to find out your personal favourite!

What makes Marzipan from Lübeck so special?

culinary tours germany niederegger
The Holsten Gate made of Marzipan

Niederegger looks impressive with its eye-catching decorated windows and the stylish cafe, a simple tourist will take it for the Marzipan from Lübeck. Actually, Niederegger Marzipan did never win in my blind contests with friends and family, so I started a Marzipan research, wondering why.

First I found out that Lübeck has its own rule for the ratio between almond paste and sugar: while the law dictates a ratio of 50:50, the producers from Lübeck obliged themselves to a ratio of 70:30 for the regular marzipan and 90:10 for the fine marzipan from Lübeck, which ensures a higher quality in general, compared to marzipan from other regions.

During the production process the almonds are skinned with scalding water, grounded and mixed with sugar, next the mixture is heated until the sugar melts and the roasting process starts. During this process the required moisture content of the paste is achieved and the typical aromas are developed. After a controlled cooling phase the paste is stored in precisely defined thermal conditions for a specified period of time. This is referred to as the actual “maturing process”, which develops the aroma and structure.

Burkhardt Leu from the Marzipan Speicher
Burkhardt Lau from the Marzipan Kontor

As far, as good. But how comes that it all tastes different? I went to Burkhard Leu from the Marzipankontor and he told me about the secret and special recipe of every producer: the taste depends on the quality of the almonds, on the roasting process, the maturing process and, last but not least, how fresh it gets to the consumer. In other words, it makes a difference whether it stood on hold in supermarket shelves for months, or you get to eat it right after the maturing process.  A good reason to buy at the factory shop right here in Lübeck from a small producer, instead the Niederegger Marzipan at the supermarket – it just can´t be as fresh.

Here are some factory shops:

http://culinarytourgermany.com/germany-at-a-glance/northern-germany/

by Martina Kuhnert

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