Christmas may be over but the European Market is definitely still open!
The Mozart Controversies – The Man and The Chocolate Mozart Kugel
Was Mozart poisoned or did he die of natural causes? Is a Mozart Kugel still a Mozart Kugel if it’s not made in Austria? Two weighty controversies.
And for that matter why is a Mozart Kugel a Mozart Kugel and not a Bach Bonbon or a Clara (Schumann) Confection? And further more…what is a Mozart Kugel!?!?!?
A Mozart Kugel (or Mozart Ball) is a small round confection made with an inner ball of pistachio marzipan covered in nougat and then coated in dark chocolate – “the multi-layered taste of the delightful praline reminds of Mozart's music”. As you can see there are many brands each with their own take on the old recipe.
They were first made in Austria in 1890 by a confectioner named Paul Fürst who chose the name “Mozartkugel” to pay his respects to Salzburg’s own Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Unfortunately Mr. Fürst failed to trademark his new creation and soon cafés and chocolatiers around Austria were serving up versions of their own.
The controversy played out over decades and countries and the Courts were called in to make decisions over who could use the name Mozart Kugel.
Cafe Konditorei Fürst uses the trademark “Original Salzburger Mozartkugel” and because their Mozart Ball is still made by hand it is perfectly round. We can’t get these delicacies here in North America – they only ship within the EU and Switzerland. But on a trip to Nuremberg to visit the Schmidt Lebkuchen bakeries I had two dozen Fürst Mozartkugeln shipped to me in Germany to bring home to Canada.
Given that we here at Gingerbread World import Christmas specialties from Germany, we chose to include the Reber Mozart Ball in our Christmas Collection of German Chocolate and Marzipan. Due to the naming controversies, Reber is must always use a hyphen in the word Mozart-Kugel: As in “Genuine Reber Mozart-Kugeln®”. As special as the Fürst confection is, I personally like the Reber balls better – they have both pistachio and almond marzipan surrounding hazelnut nougat and then double coated in dark chocolate. Reber has created a whole collection of Mozart cofnections including a Constance Mozart Ball that is coated in milk chocolate rather than dark. Check out this non-overly impressive video to see what Reber Mozart-Kulgen look like.
Mozart Kugeln are not cheap – they are made in Europe and imported to Canada and the high nut content drives up the price. But you get what you pay for. We brought in a less expensive line of Mozart Kugeln this past year and loved that many more of our customers got to enjoy the little chocolate balls. Victor Schmidt Confection of Austria makes a simpler Mozart Ball with a smaller layer of almond marzipan and more nougat. I like the stop-sign-shaped gift boxes they came in – great stocking stuffer at a good price.
As you can see from the controversy and legal battles over the name, German and Austrian confectioners take this little chocolate bonbon pretty seriously. But I found this crazy little video on YouTube made by the Reber company – I think Mozart (the real one) would have approved!!