Sunday, December 17, 2006

Magnificent Marzipan: A Century's Old Holiday Tradition

Enjoying marzipan during Christmas is a tradition that Europeans have enjoyed for hundreds of years. Fortunato Brothers, a traditional Italian paticceria at the corner of Devoe St. and Manhattan Avenue in Williamsburg, continues this holiday custom with a Brooklyn spin.

Marzipan is a candy made from almonds, eggs and sugar. Its unique because it can be sculpted into amazing shapes. Its assumed marzipan originated in the Orient or Middle East during the middle ages and it is well documented that this delightful convection has been enjoyed since the renaissance.

Fortunato Brothers has been making Marzipan in their corner of Brooklyn for 30 years, and it shows. There were baskets filled with cherries, apples, pears, peaches, watermelon, tomatoes, peppers, oranges and other fruits and vegetables. We were drawn to the marzipan seafood platter of steamers, mussels, clams, starfish, lemons, limes and garlic. Fortunato also pays homage to some traditional New York foods, by offering whimsically sculpted hotdogs, pizza and pickles.

They produce only two batches of marzipan a year, one during Christmas the second for Easter, so supply is limited. And for $18 a-pound, we think its a relatively inexpensive way to purchase a beautiful handcrafted gift, made in Brooklyn, that also tastes so good.

Fortunato Brothers is located at:
289 Manhattan Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11211-3723

(718) 387-2281