Although it is believed to have originated in Persia (present-day Iran) and to have been introduced to Europe through the Turks, there is some dispute between Hungary and Italy over its origin. Marzipan became a specialty of the Baltic Sea region of Germany. In particular, the city of Lübeck has a proud tradition of marzipan manufacture (Lübecker Marzipan). The city’s manufacturers like Niederegger still guarantee their Marzipan to contain two thirds almonds by weight, which results in a juicy, bright yellow product.
Another possible geographic origin is Toledo, Spain (850-900, though more probably 1150 during the reign of Alfonso VII, then known as Postre Regio instead of Mazapán) and Sicily (1193, known as panis martius or marzapane, i.e. March Bread). In both cases, there is a reason to believe that there is a clear Arabic influence for historical reasons(both regions were under Muslim control) and there are also mentions in The Book of One Thousand and One Nights of an almond paste eaten during Ramadan and as an aphrodisiac. Other sources establish the origin of marzipan in China, from where the recipe moved on to the Middle East and then to Europe through Al-Andalus. In Toledo, Mazapán is also one of the city’s products. Almonds have to be at least 50% of the total weight, following the directives of Mazapan de Toledo regulator counseil.
Historically, the city of Königsberg in East Prussia was renowned for its Marzipan production. Today, the term Königsberger Marzipan refers to a special type of Marzipan in Germany.
The EU mapped in marzipan. Made by the Budapest Marzipan MuseumUnder EU law, marzipan must have a minimum almond oil content of 14% and a maximum moisture content of 8.5%. Optional additional ingredients are rosewater, honey, pistachios, preservatives, and sometimes hazelnut. In the U.S., marzipan is not officially defined, but it is generally made with a higher ratio of sugar to almonds than almond paste. One brand, for instance, has 28% almonds in its marzipan, and 45% almonds in its almond paste. However, in Sweden and Finland “almond paste” refers to a marzipan that contains 50% ground almonds, a much higher quality than regular marzipan.