Hamburg News: Trade and Finance. High-class shopping area in the city centre shown.
Marzipanherzen © Stephan E. Wolf

No craftsmanship lost at Niederegger in Lübeck

Family-run Niederegger transiting successfully from handcraft to industrial production

Origins of a company dating back to 1806 are already special. If the company is a simple craft business with a worldwide reputation for excellence and has preserved its traditional qualities while transferring them gently to the modern industrial age, then it truly is a successful enterprise. All this applies to the Lübeck-based marzipan manufacturer Niederegger. Founded as a pastry shop in Lübeck’s old town, it now operates a modern production facility where over 30 tonnes of marzipan raw material are processed per day at peak times. And in the run-up to Christmas, 750 employees work around the clock to produce this delicacy. At this time of year, Niederegger generates around 50 per cent of its annual turnover. “Our daily production of marzipan truffles alone would amount to a distance of 100 km/h, if you lined up the individual pieces,” said Kathrin Gaebel, Niederegger’s spokeswoman.

Quality unchanged for 200 years

Marzipan consists essentially of ground and roasted almonds and a maximum of 33 per cent sugar. Depending on the quality, however, this original raw mass is often sold with additional sugar. Niederegger uses only original, sugar-free raw material for marzipan. The company stands out with its own manufacturing facility for raw marzipan, which is then refined with a secret ingredient like rose water. Niederegger also produces a variety of products with flavoured marzipan, but never uses artificial flavours, as the told the Hamburg News.

Gentle roasting in gas-heated kettles

Niederegger’s production of raw material has not changed for over 200 years. After peeling, grinding and roasting, the raw materials are tossed into huge roasting kettles with the sugar. These spin over a gas flame while the marzipan mass is stirred about to prevent it from burning. However, some of the aroma is lost when the water is removed from mass, which Niederegger wants to avoid at all costs. After cooling with dry ice, the finished raw material for marzipan is packed in blocks and stored for around a week to mature. Only then does it go into production.

Original recipe in variations

Niederegger produces a wide variety of products, in addition to marzipan bread, that change according to season. These include individually wrapped truffles in a variety of flavours. Demand for Christmas truffles in addition to the traditional Niederegger marzipan advent calendar rises in the run-up to the festivities. The focus of marzipan production in the Genin district of Lübeck is on modern production lines, which essentially serve to mould the different marzipan products and coat them with chocolate. Chocolate and marzipan make for a perfect, harmonious taste. And the chocolate wrapper prevents the marzipan from drying out and thus keeps its quality over long periods of time.

Niederegger exports its marzipan products all over the world. Yet the company has always resisted the temptation to adapt its marzipan to internationally different tastes. Americans, for instance, love very sweet marzipan. Yet, all over the world Niederegger marzipan is only available based on the old master confectioner Johann Georg Niederegger’s recipe, which dates back to 1806. Niederegger symbolises traits of the Hamburg Metropolitan Region. The company is constantly striving for innovative solutions without abandoning its roots in traditional craftsmanship.
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