Friday, December 27, 2013

Zentis Marzipan Potatoes

There's a very early episode of the Simpsons in which Bart annoys his friend Milhouse so much that he vacates the bus seat they are sharing and runs to the back of the bus to sit with the "weird" German exchange student, Uder. After Milhouse plants himself, Uder offers him some of his strange German candy including "Marzipan Joy Joys (mit Iodine)". Part of the subtle joke here is that those Germans have themselves some weird and unappetizing candy. Hah, hah!

For those who don't know, marzipan is almond paste created from ground almonds and sugar. I like to think of it as the European equivalent of peanut butter treats. I also like to think of it as food of the Gods. The main difference between peanut-butter-based and almond-based candy, besides the obvious differences in flavor is that the fat is a little lower in almonds so the results are less oily and they are slightly more nutritious, but I'm not going to lie. It's not about how "good" for you marzipan is, but something in the texture and taste which I personally love.

I've reviewed a few types of marzipan in the past and spoken of my quest for the "perfect" marzipan. That is, one that is moist, tasty, and not overburdened with too much in the way of pesky chocolate. Well, my friends, I have found my holy grail of marzipan. That does not mean that this is the best marzipan on the planet, but this has a presentation that I prefer. The marzipan balls are dusted with a fine coating of cocoa powder and their flavor profile is otherwise unsullied by chocolate. In fact, you can't really taste the cocoa at all.

Before I get any further, I should say that this is not the finest of the fine. It's 50% almond paste and 50% sugar. Better grade marzipan contains more almond paste and less sugar. That's okay because the sweetness level on this is high, but not insanely high. It's not cloying, and, in my opinion, is at the right level to enhance the richness of the almond paste flavor without being overbearing. These are tiny morsels of joy. Each ball is about the size of my index finger's nail (about double the size of a pea) and about 35 calories. It is a lovely small indulgence.

I found these at Cost Plus World imports for $9.99, though I got it on sale for $6.66. Zentis's web site asserts that these are a winter special, so I'm guessing they can't be purchased year round. Frankly, I picked these up as a holiday treat for myself, but I would love to have them available year round. The only down side to them is that it is a large quantity and, because they are not sealed in a chocolate coating, they start to dry out. This is particularly an issue if you eat them conservatively (I eat one a day, occasionally two) and don't move them from the large flimsy plastic container that they come in to incrementally smaller ones as the quantity drops. As more air forms around them, they dry out more.

Even dry, these are still lovely to have, though they are obviously best when fresh and still moist. I love these to pieces. They are pretty much all I wanted since I started sampling various sorts of marzipan. That doesn't mean that I won't try other types. Perish the thought! It simply means that this is the new standard by which all others will be judged.


BunnyOne said...

I live in the province of Friesland in the Netherlands. Starting around November, the bakery has a huge marzipan pig on the counter and you can buy the stuff by the pound.


Orchid64 said...

I wish I had a huge marzipan pig on my counter. Of course, then I'd literally turn into a huge marzipan pig. ;-)