Marzipan Pigs and other Christmas Delights

| 12/25/2008 8:59:00 AM

I didn't know about the wonderful German confection called marzipan until my 20-something year old high school German language teacher gave me a small box of marzipan fruit for Christmas my sophomore year (yes, I had a terrible crush on her). The perfect miniature beauty of the marzipan fruit didn't stop me from sampling; I have been smitten by the flavor of marzipan candy ever since. Who knew that almond flour (with some low percentage of bitter almond) and sugar could be worked into such a delicious and versatile culinary clay. The material is used for much more than making delicious little figures, but that's what I keyed in on ... and am still focussed on.

This marzipan pig never had a chance.

I am shocked to report that I have gone whole hog with marzipan this Christmas. Kate, who most definitely doesn't love the flavor of marzipan, gave me a box of chocolate covered marzipan and a marzipan pig. I am embarrassed to report that I have consumed an entire pork belly, pair of hams, pair of shoulders and more, already this morning. I am weak when it comes to marzipan.

There's more to the marzipan pig than meets the eye, however. This confection is a traditional German gift that symbolizes good luck and prosperity when given at Christmas and New Year's. I am indeed lucky ... this particular pig had a meerschaum pipe and four-leaf clover in its mouth.

Marzipan is but one of the many Christmas delights that I carry with me from those misty days as a kid. What is it about snickerdoodles, molasses cookies, mincemeat pie and hard cider (well, maybe I didn't get into stump juice when I was a kid) that so delight on this day? I can't rationally explain it, but festive food always played a part in our seasonal celebrations. I'd love to hear about some of your holiday traditions ... why not post a few of them in the comments here.

 Merry Christmas everyone. Thanks for making our work at GRIT so joyful.

Hank Will_2
12/29/2008 11:15:34 AM

Erin -- I would love to check out that place. Paul -- we had a very nice Christmas ... and neither the pig nor the chocolate-covered marzipan survived until Sunday.

Erin C. Midtlyng
12/29/2008 8:25:47 AM

Well I know what to get you next year! Better yet, come up to Chicago - there's a great Christkindlmart in Daley Plaza with lots of vendors selling marzipan in any shape and form you can think of.

Paul Gardener
12/27/2008 2:28:37 AM

Hank, I right there with ya, I love Marzipan! I grew up with a Swedish mother that loved it as well. My problem is that I have a wife and three boys that all love it as well. I hope you had a wonderful holiday. All the best P~