Answer: Marzipan was originally developped in the Hansastadt Lübeck, about 60 km to the north of Hamburg and near to the Northern Sea. Made of almonds and sugar, among other, it differenciates itself from other similar sweets (mazapán in Spain, but also many related mostly arabic and turkish almond made sweets) not only because it is usually wrapped with bitter chocolate but because it does never become as sweet as the others which makes of it an interesting alternative for people who don’t like excessively sweet sweets. Interesting is that this implies high amounts of almonds in the composition (expensive) and that almonds are not to be found in Germany but usually in Spain, France, Greece, Portugal and other mediterranean countries.
Historically the Hansastädte (5) were autonomous, independent towns in the north of Germany (Lübeck, Bremen, Hamburg, Kiel and Berlin ?) during the middle ages with strong commercial international activity due to the fact that most of them were harbours or next to harbours. Their economical organization was backed by a political structure whose purpose was to maintain the healthy commercial activity against all political influence, some kind of ‘Rat’, counsel, whose building is still to be seen in Lübeck along with other medieval constructions which were mostly rebuilt after the very destructive second world war.
The Hansa were eaten up by very jealous and poorer surroundings I think around the XVIth, although they maintained very stubborn autonomous political and commercial behaviour until the end of the XIXth century. Marzipan’s symbol (of the most famous and oldest brand Niederegger) is the Holstentor, the remaining entrance through the fortified walls, which is now a museum keeping all sorts of instruments of torture used during the middle ages, as if attaching the product to a hundreds of years old tradition related to a very peculiar commercial and political situation.
The main characteristic of Marzipan is its extremely high quality due as said, to the high amount of almonds and the very fine bitter chocolate. In a certain way it finds boundaries to other products in Germany whose main characteristic is the straining of quality in spite of everything as former Rosenthal dish sets (which have lost though quality in design for the last twenty years) and traditional piano builders, among other.
In this the underlying principle of Marzipan is a whole political and financial view which has been almost eaten up by most populist currents as arosen from the ‘Zünfte’ (corporative handycraft) more or less at the same time. It opposes almost bitterly some kind of aristocratic (high middle class) organization as warrant for quality to a ‘all the same’ mixture of the good and bad, because ‘we all hold together’, and keeps itself almost beyond time and space in the very chosen atmosphere as kept in the ‘Niederegger Kaffee’ in the centre of Lübeck against all pressures and influences.
If you have nothing else to do, go to the Holstentor after having eaten excellent pastry, Marzipan and coffee at Niederegger’s Kaffee.
Gracious publicity and information provided without verification by myself because I loike it very much.