Marzipan – a treasure for caliphs and royalty
Marzipan originates from the Middle East and used to be flavoured with rose water or orange blossoms. This specialty was a delicacy served at caliphs' tables as early as 965 BC.
The name marzipan is a combination of the words "mautaban" (Arabic) and "Marci panis" (Marcus bread, Italian).
As a result of the Arabic invasion of Spain and Portugal marzipan also became known in Europe. At that time, this specialty was exclusively reserved for kings and rulers.
While almond paste was initially manufactured and sold by pharmacists because they held the spice monopoly, soon confectionary manufacturers also began with its production. Up to the 19th century, however, almond paste remained a luxury product.
It was only when sugar started to be produced from sugar beets rather than from the more expensive sugar cane, that marzipan began to be more widely distributed.