It’s time to welcome a new snack stash member to the blog – marzipan dark chocolate! Why am I about to sink my teeth into marzipan-filled chocolate in July? Well, it all began with an impromptu shopping haul when I popped into the shops for a short browse. Having a peek at one of my favorite aisles (also known as the chocolate aisle), I was drawn to a stack of marzipan-filled chocolate.
While Ritter Sport chocolates are available around the island, marzipan chocolate is a rare sight for choco-holics – especially when the sun is shining brilliantly outside. It isn’t a usual chocolate option at supermarkets here. Since it was a now-or-never moment, I couldn’t resist adding a block in my basket. Not only does this chocolate make for another fun food adventure, it is absolutely perfect for my mini ‘Christmas in July’ at home!
A Bit About Marzipan
Essentially, marzipan is a sweet starring sugar and almonds. The beauty of marzipan is that it is one of the foods that unites various cultures. Albeit different recipes, marzipan is enjoyed in Western Asia, Europe, and beyond.
Marzipan is a friend to many, and an acquaintance to some. I am part of the ‘some’ category. To me, ‘marzipan’ equates to two initial thoughts: Christmas cakes and artistic fruit-resembling confections. Waving my metaphoric magnifying glass, I was surprised to discover that my experiences with marzipan have only touched the surface of this realm. For starters, January 12th is “Marzipan Day”! As Ritter Sport is a German chocolate brand, the marzipan-laden trail led me to Germany’s marzipan capital and its famous landmark.
Lübeck & Marzipan
In Germany, a charming medieval city named Lübeck is notable for its marzipan (and its gorgeous Christmas market is much-loved too!) One of the locations that is highly recommended to foodie visitors is Café Niederegger. The establishment is owned by Niederegger Lübeck – a local marzipan company with a presence of over two centuries. ‘Exploring’ the café virtually, I learnt that sipping on a cozy cup of marzipan hot chocolate (yes, marzipan has entered the beverage realm!) and tasting glorious cakes are some of the café’s highlights.
It turns out that marzipan museums do indeed exist! In Lübeck, diving into the sweet’s history though exhibitions at the Niederegger Marzipan Museum (located a floor above the main café outlet) is unmissable too. The café and museum are open throughout the year for visitors’ marzipan fixes.
Ritter Sport’s marzipan dark chocolate is from the chocolate brand’s classic Colourful Variety range, which is available in all seasons. Upon sleuthing, I discovered that this marzipan chocolate is said to be vegan! It is part of Ritter Sport’s aptly yet lovingly-named ‘Accidentally Vegan’ collection, which shines the spotlight on chocolates from its regular ranges that happen to be vegan.
A delightful cocoa aroma appeared as soon as I unwrapped the chocolate. The classic-looking mini chocolate squares are inviting to chocoholics! No clues pointed to marzipan… until I divided the block into smaller pieces.
The collective flavors greeted me as soon as I began munching on my first piece. Together, dark chocolate and marzipan share the spotlight. Their distinctive tastes are identifiable from the beginning, and they truly complement each other with a flavorful sweet-bitter-nut fusion – all at the same time. To marzipan enthusiasts, it is love at first bite. As for marzipan acquaintances, this chocolate grows on you in every bite, much like how it did for me. It does bring bits of Christmassy vibes, but the chocolate block is enjoyable in summer too.
The chocolate-to-filling ratio is pretty balanced in this chocolate block, as 44% of the block comprises of the marzipan filling. While chocolate and marzipan are right up sweet tooths’ alley, the combination is lovely for people who aren’t huge on sweets. This is primarily attributed to the dark chocolate’s rich bitter-sweet cocoa taste. Listed as ‘cocoa solids 50% minimum’, the chocolate is neither milky nor sweet like milk and white chocolates. Hence, dark chocolate’s quintessential boldness adds an extra dimension to marzipan’s flavor, without being marzipan’s competitor.
Sugar is an integral ingredient in marzipan, but this marzipan isn’t at a ‘sugar rush’ level of sweetness. Chewing thoughtfully on the filling on its own, I noticed that almond’s nuttiness stands out more. Almond’s touch is closely followed by the confection’s signature taste with a mild sweetness. A fun fact is that the almonds are from California.
The dark chocolate-marzipan partnership continues in the texture department. Dark chocolate’s role seems to lean more towards that of a thick chocolate shell with a filling inside, rather than a chocolate coat that wraps a filling. The chocolate has a nice snap, plus it impressively retains its original shape in a tropical room temperature and without being refrigerated. Marzipan’s softness, which is somewhere between a nougat and a paste, is a perfect contrast to the chocolate.
All in all, this chocolate was a pleasure to taste. To me, it’s the beginning of a flavorful friendship with marzipan!