Marzipan is a sweet almond paste that’s usually incorporated into pastries, molded into edible shapes for decoration, and/or covered in chocolate and presented as candy. Its pliability makes it a fun confection for decorating speciality desserts, but it’s also eaten plain. It’s not very common in the U.S., and that is a damn shame. For those of you unfamiliar with marzipan, IT IS DELICIOUS. At home, I get my fix from Ritter Sport chocolate bars. They make this dark chocolate and marzipan bar that you can find at Target in the candy aisle. (Go get it)
Norwegians don’t have Target, but you know what they do have? MARZIPAN. SO MUCH FUCKING MARZIPAN. They know what is up. I’ve come across so many cheerful marzipan confections, and I want to share my joy with you.
At the indoor market in Oslo, I found a bag of marzipan treats shaped like tiny fruits and little piggies. It was a little spendier than, say, a Ritter Sport, but we’re talking artisanal marzipan.
This little guy had a firmer texture, which I liked. But the leaf wasn’t eatable and that bummed me out. DO NOT PUT FAKE LEAVES ON MY CANDY. The paint job was lovely, but I think it tainted the flavor of the candy. Fancy isn’t always better.
Another marzipan-y treat showed up at work. Krista brought in…almond sticks? I don’t remember the Norwegian name, but they’re a chewy almond pastry and I’m fairly sure the name translated to “almond stick.” I didn’t take a picture of the ones Krista brought in (probably because I ate them too fast) but here, the internets helped:
I’m pretty sure the almond stick pastry (left) is the same as Norwegian wedding cake (right), just shaped differently. If you haven’t had Norwegian wedding cake (I have no idea if that’s what it’s actually called, but hang with me) THEN YOU NEED TO FIND IT AND PUT IT IN YOUR FACE. I used to roll my eyes when I saw this at people’s wedding celebrations. Like, GET A REAL CAKE. And I never ate it because I was being snotty and judgmental. Guys– never be snotty about cake. Life is too short for that bullshit. I finally tried it at a Son’s of Norway Christmas celebration because it was the only dessert there. I ate it out of NECESSITY. And I almost fainted in shame and joy. I couldn’t believe what I’d been missing all these years. Then Krista brings the almond stick to work and tells me that this almondy treat can be enjoyed any day of the week. No wedding necessary.
Today, I discovered a new Easter Treat, and when I got it home, I DISCOVERED THAT IT’S MARZIPAN. I’m pretty sure I’ve developed Marzipan radar.
I thew it in the basket because how can you go wrong with egg-shaped candy anything? YOU CAN’T. Brief aside: Easter is the best candy holiday. Eggs are the perfect shape for every sweet. Snickers? Better as an egg. Reese’s? Better as an egg. Not to mention Cadbury eggs–traditional, caramel filled, or mini with hard candy shells. ALL DELICIOUS. And baskets are an ideal candy delivery system: portable, accessible, spacious. As a bonus, when I’m eating all these delectable treats, I get to think about how Easter is based on a pagan celebration of fertility. Forget Valentine’s day; Easter is the sexiest of all the holidays. Digression over, back to the marzipan eggs.
These eggs were pastel and pretty large–two to three bites each. They had a hard candy shell, like Cadbury mini eggs, a thin layer of chocolate, and then soft, sweet marzipan center.
If I were a Norwegian kid, I’d be praying for a bunch of these in my Easter basket. Fortunately, I’m an adult, and I can just go to the store and buy them. I would say these make the top 5 list for Norway candy discoveries. They might be top 3, but I’m not ready to rack my brain and start an official ranking here. But these little devils got it going on.
So, Marzipan. It’s versatile, it’s fun, it’s delicious. I have no idea why American candy makers haven’t gotten their shit together Marzipan-wise. If you haven’t had it yet, and you’re not allergic to almonds, expand your horizons. Maybe we can start a movement.