Favorite Dessert: The Niederegger Cafe' in Luebeck, Germany.
A lot of people don't like the sweet almond paste that is marzipan. Not us. We love it. Crave it sometimes. But we won't accept just any old run-of-the-mill marzipan. It has to be only Niederegger marzipan out of Luebeck, Germany. Niederegger was founded in 1806. They claim to have invented marzipan, but that is disputed by the Italians. Nevertheless, the consensus is that Niederegger makes the finest marzipan in the world. There is a marked difference between them and their competitors. Here is an example:
While in Utah visiting Amber's family, I stopped in a deli and thought I'd surprise Amber with a treat. I purchased a small bag of marzipan "potatoes" and brought them home. Of course Amber was surprised and grateful. Then she tasted one. "This isn't Niederegger is it?" she said. "No, it's some other brand". "Oh, well you can have the rest" as she pushed the bag toward me.
Was she being picky? No. She's just been spoiled with the good stuff. That spoiling came at the hand of our dear friends Brigitte and Claudia Dziallas in Germany in October of '08. While visiting them, they drove us to Luebeck to see the town, learn some history, and to hit the Niederegger Cafe'.
I'm sure a portion of heaven must look like the inside of the cafe'. We had marzipan cake and marzipan hot cocoa. What makes their product so good is the lack of sweetness (to the American taste bud). It was sweet, but you could still taste the almond flavor and chocolate. Also on display at the cafe' are statues made of marzipan (not as kitsch as it sounds, kinda cool really).
There is no place in this world that I would rather take my family for an afternoon treat that the Niederegger Cafe'. Too bad it is so far away. Fortunately, Niederegger marzipan can be found in specialty stores. But I still miss the cakes and marzipan hot cocoa. Ask Amber. She gets all dreamy-eyed if you mention the cafe'. If you don't like marzipan, check out my runner up. If you do like marzipan, only settle for Niederegger.
Runner up: Busken's Bakery in Cincinnati, OH. Their holiday "schnecken" are wicked.