Friday, January 11, 2013

Reber Mozart Marzipan Mozart Bar

I spent last Thanksgiving having dinner with my sister-in-law, her family, and their friends. For dessert, my husband's aunt brought a beautifully crafted and incredibly expensive cake from Dean & Deluca. It's the sort of thing that I could only ever consume under one of two situations. The first one was that I experienced during the holiday. That is, someone who makes a lot more money than me offered it as a gift to a group of people I was dining with. The other would be if there were free samples.

Though the cake itself was just fine, my favorite part of it by far were the marzipan apples that decorated the top. I've had various sorts of marzipan before, and the quality has ranged rather far and wide. Since delighting in those fancy little almond paste apples, I've been on a bit of a quest to find something similar that is more in my price range. The problem for an American is that marzipan is not popular here so you have to turn to European imports. 

The truth is that I'd had Mozart chocolates of various types before in Japan. Every time a student went to Vienna, they would give my husband some sort of Mozart treat as a gift. Often, they had not traveled well, but they were still fairly tasty. However, after eating those marzipan apples, which were not adulterated with chocolate, I was hoping to track down something which was similar rather than "settle" for something covered in chocolate. I know that sounds like heresy. Chocolate is, after all, the food of the chubbiest pizza-faced gods. However, sometimes, you just want to have something in its pure form.

After some research, I learned that one of the reasons marzipan is enrobed in chocolate is that it does not do well once it is exposed to air. It has to be very fresh or it has to be hidden in some other substance to be good. Maybe one of the reasons Americans don't like marzipan is that the pure stuff is usually little faux fruits that tend to be sold in shelf stable packaging. They may look good, but I've heard they aren't much to write home about on the tast and texture front. 

Armed with this information, I passed on the pink marzipan pigs on offer at Pier One Imports and decided to opt for the Mozart marzipan bars. I figured that, despite the fact that they are chocolate covered, it should be better marzipan in the middle. For those who don't know what marzipan is, it is, essentially, almond paste. It's made pretty much with sugar, egg white, and nuts with some various small additions (e.g., flavors like vanilla).

With so much chocolate involved, it's no surprise that the marzipan is not the primary flavor. The first thing that hits your tongue is sweet, milky chocolate. The texture feels quite decadent because it is so creamy, but the cacao level seems rather low. You get very little in the way of the bitterness and intensity of chocolate. I'm not even a dark chocolate fan and this was a bit too milky for me.

The volume of marzipan relative to the amount of milk chocolate is rather low, unfortunately. I should have heeded the illustration on the package in this regard. It's not exactly promising lavish quantities. The marzipan flavor hits after the chocolate and the strongest component is the pistachio. Though this includes almonds and hazelnuts, they tend to blend in rather than stand out as separate flavors. It's good, and has a nice, smooth, moist texture, but as someone who was eating pure marzipan "apples", I had hoped for more strength.

I can't say that this is a bad bar at all. In fact, it is quite enjoyable, but it didn't quite suit my tastes. I was looking for something in the wrong place. What I found was tasty, but not a fount of marzipan goodness. If you are looking for something lighter on that front, this is pretty tasty, but ultimately it was too sweet and didn't offer enough strong chocolate or marzipan flavor for me personally. I in no way mean to diminish the quality and tastiness of this, but I would not buy it again.


SusieTron FiveThousand said...

Thanks for this review. I tried marzipan before going to Germany and it was nasty. So I assumed all marzipan was cut from the same cloth, dumb of me. Especially since while in Germany I avoided marzipan with the preconceived notion that it would not be good. After reading this and knowing that there is good marzipan out there, I will give it another go. :)

Pawawanpi said...

I like homemade marzipan but I have never tried a marzipan that I've ever liked that I've bought from a store.

Rodzilla said...

you might look for Niederegger Marzipan at cost plus world market. I think that's your best bet for finding a plain marzipan, or at least one that is more marzipan than chocolate.

MsMurder said...

If you have an Aldi near you they still have stollen on sale from the holidays. They are rich moist fruit cakes filled with a huge "tube" of marzipan running through the middle.

I am in love with the cherry stollen. Dried cherries soaked in cherry liquer, moist cake and loads of marzipan. I picked ours up for $2.99, though the ad I found for it is from the UK.

Sylvia said...

I didn't know marzipan wasn't popular in the US. I feel very sorry for you, because I love marzipan!

FYI: Mozartkugeln and all associated snacks are bad choices when it comes to the enjoyment of marzipan, because they are not about the marzipan at all. They are always, always extremely sweet and loaded with chocolate and praline. Even what marzipan there is is not almond marzipan, but mostly - as in this case - pistachio marzipan. Which (like walnut marzipan) can be very tasty, but is another thing entirely.

There is pure marzipan available that is excellent, though. Niederegger makes excellent "Marzipanbrote" with and without chocolate covering. This should be available in some places ion the US, I think. Also, Aldi, Lidl and other such German chains have small bite-sized marzipan - this is covered in dark chocolate, and is excellent and not too sweet. I know this kind of product is available in the UK in these stores, so maybe in the US, too...

If you can ever get your hands on baking marzipan called "Marzipan Rohmasse", this is my favorite. It's not packaged prettily, but it is the real deal - sheer marzipan without additional sugar or other such nonsense.

(In shaped sweets, marzipan it is usually adulterated with additional powdered sugar, and is sweeter than I prefer it.)