Today I want to share with you this comprehensive guide to the famous marzipan. You will learn about its origins, ingredients, recipe, and where to taste and purchase the best Spanish marzipan in Toledo.
If you are visiting Spain, Toledo is the ultimate destination to taste this traditional Spanish sweet!
Table of contents
- What is marzipan?
- The origins of the Spanish marzipan
- How is Spanish marzipan made?
- Marzipan in Toledo
- Health benefits of the Spanish marzipan
What is marzipan?
Marzipan is a delectable confectionery made from ground almonds, sugar, and eggs. The combination of these ingredients creates a smooth, dough-like consistency that can be molded into various shapes or used as a filling.
While marzipan is a popular sweet in various countries across Europe, Asia, and America, my personal favorite is the one crafted in Toledo, Spain. The Spanish marzipan from Toledo stands out for its exceptional taste, delicate texture, and rich cultural heritage.
The artisans of Toledo have perfected the art of marzipan-making, passing down their recipes and techniques through generations. Marzipan is a traditional Christmas dessert in Spain, although in Toledo it is consumed all year round. I have no doubt this is one of my 10 favorite foods in Toledo.
The origins of the Spanish marzipan
The origins of the marzipan from Toledo are shrouded in uncertainty, with no definitive historical records. I have heard numerous legends surrounding its origin story.
According to the most widely accepted version, marzipan was introduced to Europe from the South during the Muslim invasion of the Iberian Peninsula in the 8th century.
Other theories claim that the origins of the marzipan in Spain come from the Middle East. It is believed to have been introduced to Europe during the Middle Ages through trade routes. From there, it gained popularity among European nobility and eventually spread to different regions, each putting its own unique spin on the recipe.
How is Spanish marzipan made?
Traditional Spanish marzipan from Toledo is made using just a few simple ingredients. Almonds are the star of the show, providing a distinct nutty flavor and creamy texture. Alongside the almonds, sugar acts as a sweetener and binder.
The recipe for the marzipan from Toledo includes egg whites to enhance the malleability of the mixture, and sometimes a touch of honey. Finally, the egg yolk is used to paint the figures before putting them in the oven.
Spanish marzipan recipe
In another section of the article, I have included the most popular establishments where you can buy the official marzipan of Toledo. But if you dare to prepare the Spanish marzipan recipe at home, follow these steps:
- Knead the ground almonds, sugar, and egg white in a bowl until you obtain a dough with a uniform texture that can be easily kneaded. If it is too dry, add more egg white.
- Let the dough rest for a few hours in a cool place.
- When it is going to be cooked, sprinkle it with powdered sugar, knead it again, and give it the desired shape.
- Paint the figures with egg yolk and bake in a high oven for a few minutes. Be careful and pay attention because they burn easily.
In any case, in my opinion, it is difficult to make marzipans at home like the ones you can taste in Toledo.
Marzipan in Toledo
When it comes to marzipan in Spain, Toledo is an iconic destination, especially at Christmas. This Spanish city has a long-standing tradition of producing high-quality marzipan that is revered both locally and internationally. The artisans of Toledo have perfected the art of marzipan-making, passing down their recipes and techniques through generations.
Every piece of marzipan in Toledo is a work of art, meticulously crafted to capture the imagination and satisfy the taste buds.
Where to purchase the best marzipan in Toledo
Visitors to Toledo are often drawn to the quaint marzipan shops that line the historic streets. These shops showcase a wide array of marzipan treats, from traditional figures like fruits and animals to intricate designs inspired by the city’s rich history and architecture.
The marzipan is one of the most popular souvenirs to purchase in Toledo. And, in addition to the various shops and stores, some of the finest marzipans in Toledo can be found in unexpected places: the convents. Here, behind cloistered walls, skilled nuns dedicate their time and expertise to create these delicious sweets.
With so many options available, it can be challenging for visitors to identify the very best Spanish marzipans in Toledo. For your convenience, I have handpicked five of my favorite establishments in Toledo:
1. Santo Tomé
Address: Calle de Santo Tomé 3 | Plaza de Zocodover 7
Phone: +34 925 223 763 | +34 925 221 168
2. San Telesforo
Address: Ronda Buenavista 47 | Plaza de Zocodover 8
Phone: +34 925 227 836 | +34 925 284 555
3. Mazapanes Conde
Address: Plaza Valdecaleros 8
Phone: +34 925 254 051
4. Convento de Jesús y María
Address: Av. de Francia 5
Phone: +34 925 223 675
5. Convento de Santo Domingo el Antiguo
Address: Pl. Sto Domingo Antiguo 2
Phone: +34 925 222 930
To make it even easier for you to explore these marzipan establishments in Toledo, I have also included a map pinpointing their locations. This way, you can choose the one closest to your location:
These five places in Toledo are renowned for their commitment to producing the highest quality Spanish marzipan, each offering its own unique touch to this beloved sweet treat.
Health benefits of the Spanish marzipan
While Spanish marzipan is undoubtedly a treat for the taste buds, it also offers some surprising health benefits.
Almonds, the main ingredient in marzipan, are packed with nutrients such as healthy fats, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, and calcium. These nutrients contribute to heart health, improve digestion, support brain function, and provide an energy boost.
In addition, it stands out for its low sugar content, compared with other sweets. However, due to its high amount of calories, it is important to enjoy marzipan in Spain in moderation, as it is still a sweet confectionery.
I hope you have enjoyed this article about marzipan in Spain. From its humble origins to its presence in festive celebrations, Spanish marzipan continues to bring joy to those who appreciate its unique flavor and artistic craftsmanship.
While there are many countries renowned for their excellent marzipan, such as Germany, my personal favorite will always be the marzipan from Toledo. Moreover, as you delve into the world of marzipan from Toledo, you will have the wonderful opportunity to explore a city that is truly one-of-a-kind.
Is Spanish marzipan suitable for people with nut allergies?
No, Spanish marzipan is made from almonds, which are nuts. It is not recommended for individuals with nut allergies.
Can I make Spanish marzipan at home?
Yes, you can make Spanish marzipan at home using ground almonds, sugar, and eggs. However, it is difficult to make marzipans at home like the ones you can taste in Toledo.
What is the best place to taste marzipan in Spain?
In my opinion, the best place to taste marzipan is Santo Tomé in Toledo.