Marzipan from Toledo: a Spanish Christmas Treat

Marzipan is a traditional Christmas treat whose main ingredients are almonds and sugar. This tradition comes from the time of the reign of Philip II. He decided to distribute treats among the poor at Christmas. Although they are usually eaten at Christmas, in Toledo we can find marzipan all year round.

Production

The main ingredient of marzipan are the almonds. They are firstly crushed and mixed with sugar obtaining a fine and compact dough that later is molded and baked. There are many variants of these Christmas treats.

The most traditional are the filled marzipan rolls, the marzipan figurines, the ‘marquesas’, the ’empiñonadas’ and the ‘pastel de gloria’, among others. They can also be eaten throughout the year accompanied by tea, coffee, cava or chocolate.

Marzipan from Toledo

Marzipan from Toledo.

History 

The term ‘mazapán’ (marzipan) might come from the Arab spoken in Al-Andalus during the period of coexistence that occurred in the centre and south of the peninsula during the Middle Ages. Its production was maintained in the birthplace of Miguel de Cervantes both in convents as well as in other non-religious establishments.

The prestige and fame of these Christmas treats were enormous. Even Charles V from Yuste and then his Son Philip II, asked for marzipan, as well as other treats made in the Imperial City. It is said that the confectioner’s of Toledo at that time were the best in Europe due to its variety, originality and refinement. The first recipe for “marzipan” found is in the Libro de guisados, manjares y potajes (Book of stews) by the chef Ruperto de Nola. The first edition in Spanish was made in Toledo in 1525, coinciding with a visit by Emperor Charles V. You can buy marzipan in Consuegra and Toledo.

Further information

Asociación de Fabricantes de Turrones y Mazapanes de la Provincia de Toledo

Paseos de Recaredo, 1

45002 – Toledo (TOLEDO)

Phone number: +34 925 228 710

Fax: 925 211 812


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