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Marzipan

Made mostly of almonds and icing sugar, marzipan is one of the oldest sweets manufactured in Estonia, with production dating back to the Middle Ages.

Made mostly of almonds and icing sugar, marzipan is one of the oldest sweets manufactured in Estonia, with production dating back to the Middle Ages. Marzipan probably originated from Persia (modern-day Iran), where written sources first mentioned this sweet treat in the 9th century.

In the Early Middle Ages, marzipan reached Europe, where the old Hanseatic towns of Reval (now known as Tallinn) and Lübeck started manufacturing it almost simultaneously.

In addition to all sorts of more or less curative substances, marzipan was initially manufactured in Estonia at a pharmacy. More specifically, at the Town Hall Pharmacy of Tallinn, the oldest continuously-operating pharmacy in Europe, it is first mentioned in written records in 1422. According to a popular local legend, marzipan was invented by an assistant of the above-mentioned pharmacy. This legend became particularly famous thanks to the popular book Mardileib(Mart’s Bread)by the Estonian novelist Jaan Kross.

In pharmacy documents dating from 1695, we can find a marzipan medicine under the name Panis Martius (also Marci Panis). Another preserved document is a 17th-century order made by the above-mentioned pharmacy for the renowned Dutch sculptor Arent Passer to make two stone marzipan moulds. One of these moulds depicted Tallinn’s large coat of arms with a lion, and the other depicted a small coat of arms with a cross. Both of these were regarded as highly suitable moulds for gifts sent by the pharmacy to the aldermen on various special occasions.

During the period when Hanseatic guilds were actively operating, marzipan was made by what was known in Estonian as suhkrupagarid (sugar bakers), who became known as kondiitrid in Estonian (confectioners) from the 18th century onwards. One of them, a III Guild Swiss confectioner Lorenz Cavietzel left his mark on history in the early 19thcentury by purchasing the property on Pikk Street in the Old Town of Tallinn – the location of the modern-day Maiasmokk Café – and by starting to manufacture marzipan there, among other things.

The marzipan and chocolate factory established at the same location became even more famous in the second half of the 19th century, when Georg Johann Stude, a Baltic German from Narva, rebuilt the building and expanded it by purchasing the neighbouring plot.

Georg Stude’s exclusive marzipan products were well-known in the Governorates of Estonia and Livonia, and they were also supplied to the Russian Imperial Court in St. Petersburg, for example. Until the start of World War I, it was possible to purchase Georg Stude’s sweets from a company store in Moscow. Over the twisted course of history, Georg Stude’s company was nationalised but, fortunately, the manufacturing of marzipan figurines did not stop. Their production later continued in Estonia’s largest confectionery company, Kalev. The marzipan fruit and vegetables, animal and bird figurines, marzipan cakes and postcards with city views soon also found favour among the Kremlin’s “uncrowned rulers”. Leonid Brezhnev appreciated them particularly highly.

The very same methods and antique marzipan moulds from Stude’s store, dating back to the late 19thand early 20th century, are used to make marzipan figurines at the Maiasmokk building to thisday (approx. 200 historical marzipan moulds have been preserved). All the figurines are shaped by hand, and later painted using a brush and food colouring. That adds a piece of the artist’s soul to every figurine, thereby making it unique.

Chocolate

Chocolate is a sweet treat that has been known for thousands of years. Today, chocolate is made from cocoa mass and cocoa butter (from roasted cocoa beans), and sugar; in the case of milk chocolate, milk components are also added to the mix.

Chocolate is a sweet treat that has been known for thousands of years. Today, chocolate is made from cocoa mass and cocoa butter (from roasted cocoa beans), and sugar; in the case of milk chocolate, milk components are also added to the mix.

Please note! A sweet is only allowed to be referred to as chocolate if it has been made of cocoa butter, and it can contain up to 5% of other vegetable fat (and even that must have identical properties to cocoa butter).

Originally, chocolate was a cold drink made from roasted, ground and frothed cocoa mass, without any sugar, which is why its creators, the Aztecs in CentralAmerica, referred to it as xocolatl (bitterwater).

Chocolate became known in Europe followingthe voyages of Columbus to America, and after the Spaniard Cortez conquered Mexico in the early 16th century. Solid chocolate as we know it was first manufactured by Joseph Fry ofthe Fry & Sonscompanyin the middle of the 19th century. In 1875, the Swiss Daniel Peter added milk to chocolate, thereby creating milk chocolate.

In Estonia, one of the first renowned chocolate manufacturers was Georg Stude’s company in Tallinn during the second half of the 19th century, the predecessor of Kalevconfectionery company.

The main types of chocolate

Nowadays, there are several types of chocolate available in shops. The differences between the types start with the country of origin of the cocoa beans, and they are even more pronounced depending on the production method and recipe used to make the chocolate.

Dark chocolate

The cocoa content in dark chocolate can even be over 90%. This type of chocolate is the most beneficial to your health, mainly thanks to its high cocoa content!

Dark chocolate mainly consists of cocoa mass, cocoa butter, sugar and lecithin. The depth of the colour of the chocolate and the bitterness of its flavour depend on the ratio of cocoa mass tosugar. Semi-sweet dark chocolate with a cocoa content of up to 50% is usually used in pastries.

Milk chocolate

In milk chocolate, some of the dry cocoa mass has been substituted with milk components, which gives a sweeter flavour, lighter colour and softer structure to the chocolate. As it is extremely heat-sensitive, using milk chocolate in desserts that require heat-processing is more complex. It is also great for making decorationsas a nice alternative to dark chocolate,in terms ofits aroma, flavour and colour.

White chocolate

The manufacturing process and ingredients of white chocolate are similar to that of ordinary chocolate, with one important exception: no cocoa mass or powder is used in white chocolate. The only cocoa product in white chocolate is cocoa butter. That is why white chocolate is sweeter than other types of chocolate, and is also great for making desserts. Compared to regular chocolate, it contains a lot more milk. However, melting white chocolate requires extra care: heating it too quickly may cause it to become grainy, or even to burn.

How is chocolate useful?

Scientists have researched the characteristics of chocolate extensively and proved that many of these elements are indeed beneficial for our health. Meanwhile, we must not forget that it is particularly dark chocolate, i.e. chocolate with a high cocoa content, which is most useful. It is also important to eat chocolate in moderation – just like any other food.

Essentially, it can be said that chocolate contains ingredients thathelp to prevent several diseases, while also making you feel good and at peace with yourself and the world, making your mood better and reducing stress. That is especially true for women, which is why they are particularly prone to the charms of chocolate. The invigorating and energising effect of chocolate has also been noted and it is a great source of energy, so it is great for anyone experiencing psychological or physical exertion.

The following list is a more serious and thorough overview of the beneficial characteristics of chocolate:

1. Cocoa butter, one of the main ingredients of chocolate, contains a lot of stearic acid, which is why eating chocolate does not increase blood cholesterol levels or the risk of cardiovascular disease.

2. Chocolate contains antioxidants (flavonols), which protect the heart and the cardiovascular system. They are also beneficial for the immune system, and potentially preventing cancer.

3. Chocolate contains important nutrients: iron, zinc, potassium, magnesium, copperand Vitamin B.

4. Eating chocolate makes you feel good, as it releases the “happiness hormones” – endorphins.

5. Chocolate has a slightly invigorating effect thanks to the theobromine it contains.

6. Chocolate contains serotonin, which is a natural “antidepressant”.

7. Recent studies have also proved that chocolate does not cause acne or tooth decay.

8. Chocolate does not cause hyperactive behaviour or hyperactivity related to attention deficit disorder in children. The scientific literature on this topic indicates that no study about children has established a link between hyperactive behaviour and consuming chocolate.

Why does chocolate sometimes turn “grey”?

When it comes to chocolate treats, it is good to know two important aspects: any changes in temperature should only occur very slowly with these products, and they must also be protected from excess humidity.

When chocolate products are moved from a cool room to somewhere humid and/or warm, the chocolate structure will change very quickly, and a dull greyish layer will also appear on the surface of the chocolate. It is as if the sweet is “blooming”.

Consumers are often worried and afraid that it is mould, but that is not the case. Depending on the specific situation, it is only the crystallisation of sugar or cocoa butter on the surface of the chocolate. It is not a health hazard, but it does greatly affect the appearance of the product, making you less likely to indulge in it.

In order to keep chocolate products looking and tasting great, it is a good idea to store them at a temperature that is as even as possible. For short-term storage, an ordinary room temperature of 18‒20°Cand relative humidity of up to 60% work well. For long-term storage (in warehouses, shops), the ideal storage temperature would be 16‒18°C, with relative humidity of up to 50%.

Chocolate products that have melted after long-term storage in a warm room should never be placed in a fridge in the hope of recovering the nice appearance of the chocolate. Even if a product has been accidentally left in a place that is too cold or too warm, getting it back to normal temperature should only happen slowly and calmly.

Chocolate should also be protected from direct light and heat.

Certified raw materials

Kalev considers it important to focus on sustainable and responsible cocoa farming, and in turnimproving the working and living conditions of cocoa farmers.

Kalev considers it important to focus on sustainable and responsible cocoa farming, and in turnimproving the working and living conditions of cocoa farmers.

In 2014, Kalev joined UTZ Certified, the world’s leading programme in supporting responsible and sustainable coffee, tea and cocoa farming. In 2017, all of the cocoa required for making Kalev chocolate is certified, and all of our chocolate products have the right to use the UTZ Certified label. This label on the product indicates that the company supports responsible cocoa farming. By buying products with the UTZ label, you are also supporting that principle.

UTZ Certified is an international programme that was launched in the Netherlands in 2002:
• UTZ means “good” in the Mayan language
• UTZ is the world’s largest programme for responsible cocoa
• UTZ programme members include more than 465,000 cocoa farmers
• UTZ certified cocoa is produced in 19 countries
• Chocolate products carrying the UTZ label are sold in 135 countries

Why UTZ certifiedcocoa?

The global cocoa sector is facing many challenges. An insufficient cultivation system, ageing cocoa trees, the use of incorrect chemicalsand uncontrolled deforestation, in addition to the poor working conditions and lowincomes of the cocoa farmers.

The goal of the UTZ programme is to have an efficient certification system that can be monitored for producing cocoa in a socially and environmentally responsible way. Cocoa farmers who have joined the UTZ programme are already getting higher yields and are more skilled in managing their farm, while having improved work conditions and environmental protection.

How does UTZ work?

With UTZ, everything begins with more skilled cultivation, which will result in increased yields, increased income, and improvements in future prospects and environmental protection. By acquiring new skills and techniques with the help of the UTZ programme, cocoa farmers are able to get more from their land and company.

Skilled cultivation leads to greater yields, but farmers are not only producing more; they are also experiencing improved crop quality and smaller expenses.

The cocoa farmers who have joined the UTZ programme are taught how to manage their farm better, for example. As a result, they will get better-quality crop for smallerexpenses, are able to invest in the well-being of their families and employees, and help secure their future.

“After joining the UTZ programme, the yield of our cocoa farm has increased: in 2011–2012, we harvested1.2 tonnes of cocoa beans, but in 2013–2014 it had already risen to 1.8 tonnes. Thanks to the UTZ programme, I was able to finish building my house, and we can now also afford to cook with gas.” Kouassi N’Guessan Nick, Côte D’Ivoire.

Environmental protection also has an important role within the UTZ programme. Farmers are taught how to use land, water, raw materials and energy economically and efficiently.

UTZ requires all worker rights to be guaranteed. For that, there are clear written criteria based on the conventions of the International Labour Organization (ILO), and compliance with these criteria is checked on a regular basis. Among other things, all workers must get sufficient rest and wages, according to national legislation, their living conditions must be good and their work environment must be safe.

UTZ wants to ensure that all of the cocoa farmers’ children grow up in a safe and healthy environment. Specific requirements have been set for the protection and development of children, including schooling and playtime. Child labour is forbidden. At the training sessions, it is explained to farmers why it is important for children to go to school, and farmers are made aware of any health hazards associated withchildrenworking on the plantationsand about keeping hazardous substances, tools, etc. out of the reach of children.

Thanks to the UTZ programme, an increasing amount of cocoa farmers and farm workers feel motivated, healthier and respected. They and their families have more opportunities for reaching their goals. Their children go to school, and they grow up in a safe and healthy environment.

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