Nidar’s Julemarsipan (Christmas marzipan) has been an important element in Norwegian Christmas celebrations for the past century, with more than 10 million marzipan pigs now being consumed annually.
In December, Norwegians’ sweet consumption more than doubles. At Christmas, only the best is good enough, and Christmas marzipan is high on Norwegian shopping lists. For many people, Nidar’s Julemarsipan evokes fond childhood memories and is a vital ingredient of the Christmas mood.
Marzipan first came to Norway in the 1800s. The raw materials were expensive, and only the wealthy could afford the end product. Slowly but surely, however, marzipan also became more widely available. The early 1900s saw the establishment of industrial production facilities, and marzipan joined the ranks of other popular sweets.
At that time, all marzipan was made by hand at the former Bergene Chokoladefabrik (Bergene chocolate factory) in Oslo and Nidar’s factory in Trondheim. Hundreds of different Christmas figures were sold every year, which the ladies at the factory formed and decorated with great care and attention. Eyes and mouths were painted by hand, and the bows worn by the marzipan pigs were tied manually. This remained the case until well into the 1960s.
“Although there have been substantial changes since the first marzipan was made at the factory in 1915, marzipan production remains the most labour-intensive process at the Nidar factory. Our marzipan is still made according to the original recipe, and we continue to use only the finest ingredients,” says Brand Manager Julie Drechsler from Orkla Confectionery & Snacks Norge.
A limited range of handmade one-kilo marzipan pigs has been released to mark Nidar Julemarsipan’s 100th anniversary. The large pig, which has not been sold since 2006, has generated considerable excitement among consumers, who have had the chance to win a pig through an in-store prize draw and on Instagram, via @nidarjulemarsipan. The pigs have also flown off the shelves at Nidar’s factory outlet store in Trondheim.
The Christmas collection anno 1935