There is a new exhibition at the nature education centre of Tallinn Zoo, featuring a zoo of several hundred hand-crafted marzipan animals and birds.
There is a new exhibition at the nature education centre of Tallinn Zoo, featuring a zoo of several hundred hand-crafted marzipan animals and birds. The creatorof the sweet zoo is marzipan artist Külli Mihkla, and the suitable surroundings for the figurines were crafted by the children of the zoo’s nature club.
The marzipan zoo was a gift from Kalev to Tallinn Zoo, on the confectionery company’s210th anniversary. According to Chairman of the Board of AS KalevKaido Kaare, the idea for the colourful zoo was inspired by the 200 or so antique marzipan moulds, nearly half of which are various animal and bird moulds.
“Using historical moulds and modern food colouring, the marzipan artist of Maiasmokk Café, Külli Mihkla, has crafted animal and bird figurines, as well as vegetables and fruit for them to eat, with a total of338 marzipan figurines in all,” Kaare said. “A few decades ago, nearly every household had a rock-hard marzipan animal figurine displayed behind the glass doors of a cupboard[marzipan hardens over time], with kids having bitten off the tail of the figurine or eaten all of its insides. Now, the entire nostalgic selection of animals and birds is displayed together in an exhibition,”headded.
Tiit Maran, Director of Tallinn Zoo, believes that this exhibition will definitely provide the joy of discovery for younger visitors to the zoo, in addition to the delight of rediscoveryfor their parents and grandparents. “We are grateful to everyone involved, particularly to marzipan artist Külli and the children of our nature club, who helped to combine two respected Estonian symbols – the zoo and the history of confectionery – into one whole,” Maran said.
The history of marzipan in Estonia dates back to the Middle Ages, when the sweet was manufactured in the Town Hall Pharmacy of Tallinn. In 1806, the confectioner Lorenz Caviezel laid the foundation for the Estonian confectionery industry by startingto manufacture marzipan sweets and other treats at the same location where the Maiasmokk Café is currently situated. Estonian marzipan became more widely known during the life of Georg Stude, when it was also supplied to the Russian Imperial Court in St. Petersburg. Despite the twists and turns of history, the manufacturing of marzipan figurines also continued during the Soviet period, in a company renamed as the Kalevconfectionery factory. Today, the manufacturing of marzipan figurines is again taking place at its original location: the Maiasmokk Café building in the Old Town of Tallinn.
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