In the beginning, it is just a small green ball of pistachio marzipan. Then it gets a coat of tasty nougat and finally a layer of dark chocolate… Hmmm, who does not know them? Mozartkugeln (Mozart balls) – a sweet souvenir from any part of Austria, especially from Vienna and of course from Salzburg, where these delicious bonbons were created.
The confectioner Paul Fürst (1856 – 1941) had trained as an apprentice in Vienna, Budapest, Paris and Nice. After coming back to Salzburg he opened his own pastry shop on the street Brodgasse. Here, in 1890, after lengthy trials, he created pralines which he named after the famous man of Salzburg – Mozart-bonbons.
Foto: © Fürst
Because clients welcomed the new sweet temptations, Fürst increased the production and renamed the bonbons in balls. He presented his invention at the Exposition Universelle of 1905, a world‘s fair held in Paris, and won the gold medal. This was a huge success for him but also for the balls. Many other companies immediately started to copy them. Unfortunately, Fürst forgot to apply for a patent to protect his brilliant idea!
Court processes to secure the trademark started with the increasing popularity of the pralines. Today the situation is like this: only Fürst’s products are allowed to be called „Original Salzburg Mozartkugeln“.
The Mirabell firm, based in Grödig near Salzburg, the biggest producer with about 90 million of the balls per year, calls them „Echte Salzburger Mozartkugeln“ (Real Salzburg Mozartkugeln)…
…and the Bavarian producer Reber (500 000 balls a year) chose the name „Echte Reber Mozartkugeln“ (Real Reber Mozartkugeln).
Although the names are similar the principal difference is that the Fürst family company – the third generation already – still produces these confections according to the original recipe and still by hand! This is why they produce about 1,4 millions of balls a year “only”.
The traditional hand method is as follows: pistachio balls covered with nougat are placed on small wooden sticks and get coated in dark chocolate. The balls rest like that until the chocolate is cool and hardened. After that, the stick is removed. The small hole that it leaves behind is filled with chocolate. A small bump is created which symbolizes the hallmark of the ball authenticity.
Fotos: © Fürst
The Fürst firm wraps its products in the silver tin foil with the blue print. You can buy these balls only via the internet: here or in four Fürst stores in Salzburg. Their locations:
Brodgasse 13 – The original store on Alter Market
Ritzerbogen, Sigmund Haffner Gasse
You might not have met the original balls in the silver tin foil yet, anyway, I am sure you know those ones which are red and gold. These are produced by the Mirabell firm, established in 1897 and named after the famous palace in Salzburg. Only Mirabell Mozartkugeln are allowed to be perfectly round (other balls must have one flat side). They have rolled more than 1,5 billion Mozartkugeln up to now!!! And it is not so easy, because one ball has to complete 14 production stages. And it takes 2 ½ hours!
The Mirabell firm packs the balls in nice gift boxes (round, octagonal or in the shape of a violin). They produce also Mozart Medallions, chocolate tablets (Mozarttafel) or Minis. For many years, the company sponsored the International Mozarteum Foundation which preserves Mozart‘s cultural heritage for future generations.
You can use Mozartkugeln as a filling for sweet dumplings. The recipe from the Mirabell company is here.
If you want to prepare these confections by yourself you can try this simple recipe.
200 g nougat
200 g marzipan
2 tbsp cherry water
10 g pistachio, fine chopped
125 g powdered sugar
100 g dark chocolate couverture
Put nougat into the refrigerator. Then cut it into small dices and form balls (1,5 cm). Put the balls again into the refrigerator. Mix marzipan with cherry water, pistachio and sugar, knead properly and then form a roll with a diameter of 2 cm. Cut as many pieces as many nougat balls you have. Flat the marzipan pieces on the board powdered with sugar. Put a nougat ball in the middle of each of them, press the edges and form a ball. Coat with melted chocolate.
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