Eats and treats

Advent with Niederegger

In countless numbers of homes eager little fingers at the beginning of December will have started opening the doors or windows on Advent calendars to see what lies behind them.

Will they reveal a picture, a gift or maybe something edible – and perhaps chocolatey?

Advent calendars

Whilst the period of Advent has been commemorated one way or another for centuries, often with the lighting of candles, or chalk marks made on doors or walls, the kind of Advent calendars we know today, appear to have originated in Germany in the mid-19th century thanks to Gerhard Lang’s recalling calendars made for him by his mother.

By the beginning of the 20th century the calendars were printed and within a few years small doors or windows added.

But the outbreak of the Second World War brought an end to the practice and it was not until the 1950s that Advent calendars really became popular.

In 1958 the first calendar with chocolate treats made an appearance.

And treats they most decidedly are today; and also much appreciated by adults too.

Never mind the excitement of a child, this adult was nearly delirious with excitement thanks to a kind friend’s gift of a Niederegger Advent calendar.

The friend knew of my passion for marzipan and that my favourite comes from the delightful German city of Lubeck – and to be precise – confectioner Niederegger.

I frequently make my own marzipan but I concede it is nowhere near as delicious as the paste made by Niederegger. Mind you they have had plenty of practice – they have been making it since 1806 – a combination of 58% almonds from the Mediterranean, plus sugar and a secret rose water-like ingredient.

Whereas I have only been making it for a few years and my marzipan recipe requires an additional 50% sugar.

And so any day now I shall be having a daily treat of a praline, a croquant or marzipan. But I do have one problem. I am loathe to open the windows – Mario Grasso’s illustration is so charming it seems a shame to damage it; I shall have to be very careful.

But not only do Niederegger make marzipan, they also make wonderful chocolate – some of it is wrapped round the marzipan, but they also produce pralines and croquants.

Incidentally the expiry date on the back of the box is 17.04.19 so if ordering one for yourself or a friend and you have missed the start of Advent don’t worry – they will still be much enjoyed.

Niederegger Marzipan Christmas Carousel: £35.00 along with other Niederegger products from chocolatesdirect.co.uk.

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