April 10, 2009

getting a marzipan fix in Toledo

The former capital of Spain, Toledo is well known for being a city with diverse religious and cultural influences on account of its historical blend of Arabic, Jewish and Christian backgrounds. The city is also famous for being the home of the famed El Greco in the final stages of his career, when some of his darkest and most intense pieces were created.

Toledo is also known for another thing: marzipan. Now I know a lot of people have mixed feelings on marzipan. Some people feel it can be too chewy, almost like a fondant. Others are turned off by overly sweet marzipan. I whole-heartedly agree with these notions. I typically only enjoy marzipan that is moderately sweetened and delicately textured, not the paste-like sugar bombs you find in most places. But L is the real marzipan fanatic between us. She adores marzipan treats, loves princess cake, and had our wedding cake decorated with marzipan.

The marzipan in Toledo is very good, comprised of a mixture of almond paste, sugar and honey. And while there are countless marzipan shops in town, to get truly fantastic marzipan you need to go to the best: Confiteria Santo Tomé, family owned and operated since 1856.

Santo Tomé's marzipan treates are created using Valencia almonds, thousand flowers honey (produced from countless varieties of different flowers), fresh farm eggs and pine kernels from Avila. In creating the marzipan, traditional techniques are used, such as cooking in wooden dishes and extended resting times.

We picked up a number of treats: mazapan delicia (crecent shaped treats filled with marzipan), pastas pinon (cookies made of marzipan encased in pine nuts), empanadas rellenas fruta (similar to a mazapan delicia, but with fruit jam in the core), figuritas sin relleno, toledanas and jamones mazapan (in the shape of a jamon).

For comparison, we also bought some of the same treats from Calama, another marzipan shop a couple of blocks away. Santo Tomé's treats were a clear notch above in quality of flavor and texture, with smooth marzipan that melted in your mouth whose sweetness had a far more delicate, restrained quality to it... a great way to get a bit of an energy boost for exploring the twisting streets and alleys of Toledo.

No comments:

Post a Comment