As a child, my German grandparents would always let me pick a small molded fruit from the big box of marzipan on their dining room sideboard. The tiny molded strawberries and oranges held my fascination as I anticipated the satisfying taste of the marzipan itself, firm yet soft, with a lovely almond taste and texture so smooth it melted in my mouth as I chewed it. At Christmas an individually wrapped pig or shamrock or hedgehog made its appearance in my stocking, and being Christmas, I was allowed to eat it all right away if I wanted. Of course I did, but I hated to see it gone.
When my grandparents passed away, my family kept the tradition of holiday marzipan alive. With family living in Europe, I have been fortunate to be gifted with marzipan at the holidays, a little mushroom of it here, a pig there. A brother in the US sends me a big box of US made marzipan molded as fruit every year. And though it’s looks remind me of the boxes my grandparents had, the similarity ends there. The marzipan is sickly sweet, and not tender. More often than not, it ends up uneaten. Certainly, it isn’t worth doing the extra exercise to burn off the calories of eating it!
But the fascination of the molded candy, and the love of the taste of “good” marzipan still burns bright. Hope springs eternal I guess, at least when it comes to me and marzipan. Hope and my dreams of childhood led me to purchase a significant quantity of vintage metal marzipan molds from a lovely seller in Belgium. I found his shop but quickly realized that the cost to ship the molds to the US was prohibitive. Still, they called to me. I found myself pouring over the shop site for days, enchanted by the quirky molds, and finally asked if he would ship to my brother in Denmark. He did! And many months later when my brother came to the US to visit, the molds (all 25 kilos of them) came with him. Many thanks to him and his girlfriend for their creative packaging and talent in charming the airline personnel into shipping them at no additional charge.
The molds themselves had been found by the seller when he was cleaning out an old factory, and are all of heavy metal. There were many pigs. I have a love of pigs and marzipan. What I will do with them is yet to be discovered. But first off I have to figure out how to actually make them. So join me as I experiment with making, molding, and decorating marzipan from vintage metal molds.