Our raw materials

Some are bitter, others sweet – almond varieties are as diverse as their processing methods. The almond tree (Prunus dulcis) originally comes from Central to Southwest Asia. Today, the most important cultivation areas are in California (USA), the Mediterranean region (mainly Spain and Italy) and Australia. After the arrival of the countless whitish-pink blossoms in spring, the almond tree produces stone fruits that are ready for harvesting from late summer onwards.

A distinction is made between sweet and bitter almonds in the trade. Bitter almonds contain the cyanogenic glycoside amygdalin, which can be enzymatically converted into either the intensely aromatic benzaldehyde or highly toxic hydrocyanic acid. Bitter almonds are therefore inedible on their own. However, they are used in small quantities to enhance flavour in the production of certain types of marzipan.

Varieties with bitter almond content often originate from the Mediterranean region and are often grown on traditionally managed plantations with extensive cultivation. Their region- specific flavour lends marzipan specialities their special character. The Californian harvest, on the other hand, mainly consists of sweet almonds of modern high-yield varieties produced in fully mechanised plantation farming. This mildly aromatic standard quality is the basis for a wide range of marzipan varieties.

Almonds are very fatty and rich in nutrients. The almond oil content is approx. 50 to 57%. They also contain 18% protein, carbohydrates, 13% dietary fibre, as well as nutrients such as potassium. In addition, almonds have a natural sugar content of almost 5%. The nutritional values may vary depending on the origin and harvest year and are subject to natural fluctuations.

The apricot tree (Prunus armeniaca), which bears pale to warm yellow stone fruits, originates in Western Asia. Today, this heat-loving tree is cultivated especially in the Mediterranean countries (e.g. Turkey, Italy, Spain, southern France and Greece) and along the Silk Road. Depending on the growing region, the harvest lasts from July to September.

Apricots are stone fruits. The flesh of the numerous varieties is a popular foodstuff both fresh and dried, while the kernels form the raw material for persipan , which is especially used in baked goods. Similar to the almond, some varieties have sweet kernals, while others are bitter, based on the various levels of amygdalin they contain. Both bitter and sweet apricot kernels are used to make persipan.

Persipan is made of debittered apricot kernels. The legislator has stipulated 50 mg prussic acid per kg of product as the limit for products made from processed apricot kernels.

The various species of hazelnut (Corylus spec.) are native to large parts of Europe and southwest Asia. The most important cultivated varieties are from the genus Corylus colurna (tree hazel, also known as Turkish hazel). In fact, by far the most important hazelnut growing areas are in Turkey, followed by Italy, the USA, Azerbaijan and Chile. The harvest season in the northern hemisphere extends from August to October.

The hazelnut is botanically classed as a true nut fruit. Good hazelnuts should be large, firm, white when cracked and of a slightly sweet, mild flavour. Hazelnuts are very rich in nutrients. They contain over 60% oil with a high proportion of unsaturated fatty acids, as well as 15-18% protein, vitamins B1 and B2, fibre and minerals such as potassium, calcium and magnesium. The nutritional values can vary depending on the origin and harvest year and are subject to natural fluctuations.

We use the highest quality grade with a diameter of 13-15 millimetres to make our hazelnut products and nut nougat varieties. Top-quality products can only be produced using top- quality raw materials.

The cacao tree (Theobroma cacao) originally comes from the Amazon region in South America, but is now cultivated almost everywhere in the humid tropics of the world. Depending on the variety, these yellow to reddish-brown fruits are up to 25 centimetres long and similar to papayas in shape. They contain up to 50 almond-sized seeds embedded in a sweet-and-sour fruit mass. The cacao harvest extends throughout the year with high and off-seasons. The seeds are fermented and dried to become cacao beans, which are the raw material for cacao products.

Cacao is traditionally divided into bulk or consumer cacao and fine flavour cacao. This distinction is, on the one hand, quality-related and, on the other hand, the result of the historical classification, processing and depends on the particular variety of cacao used. At well over 80%, bulk cacao accounts for the majority of the world’s harvest. West Africa is the most important growing region for this type. The Ivory Coast and Ghana are particularly significant. The consumer cocoa masses we use also come from these countries. The strong cacao note is the hallmark of high-quality West African mass cacao, making it an indispensable basis for standard chocolates and couvertures. Bulk cacao also is used as a raw material for the production of cocoa butter and powder.

In addition to the cacao note, fine flavour cacao is characterised by variety- and origin- specific secondary aromas boasting countless nuances of floral, fruity, spicy and nutty components. Each of the various fine flavour cacao varieties have their unmistakable flavour, making each provenance distinctive. Latin America, Southeast Asia and East Africa are home to significant fine flavour cacao-growing regions. The fine flavour cacaos we use offer attractive selection from the wide range available. They come from our partner cooperatives in selected regions in Peru, Ecuador, Venezuela, Madagascar and Trinidad as well as from an exclusive wild collection in the Brazilian Amazon.