Marzipan, that soft concoction of ground almonds and sugar, has always intrigued me. I remember, as a child, looking through the bakery window at perfectly shaped and artfully colored miniature fruits and pink piglets. As an adult, I have always found marzipan fun to work with, whether forming it into unexpected shapes, like VW Bugs, or using it to blanket a chocolate rum cake, and adorning the top with a multitude of flat, rosy, marzipan hearts. With all that almond paste history, I was delighted to get some samples from Niederegger, a famous German company that has been making these treats for more than 200 years..
I expected to like them, but I was blown away by the contrasting textures of soft, just-sweet-enough marzipan nestled in a perfectly tempered, delicious, glossy dark chocolate shell. The incredible freshness also made a big impression on me. If you like this classic German confection, I highly recommend their brand, and the Classic bar, in particular.
Niederegger’s Ginger Marzipan, made in the same manner as the Classic, but with the addition of ginger is truly inspired. The ginger’s spice (fairly gentle, in my opinion) is a great counterpoint to the slightly sweet marzipan and snappy dark chocolate. This is one of my new favorite finds. (After doing a bit of internet research, it seems Amazon offers the lowest price.)
Niederegger also makes a smaller, oval bar with a delicate coating of dark chocolate for those folks who like a higher marzipan to chocolate ratio.
The lovely little, individually wrapped, rectangular nougats were a two-layered affair. Chocolate-hazelnut (gianduja) provided a base for a plain nut paste. The whole experience was classically gianduja, a lovely super creamy texture with just enough nut and chocolate presence to make things interesting.