Three news bulletins for penguins

Two of them having to do with food, the third with Love, Faithful Love.

Marzipenguins. From Ned Deily on Facebook, these marzipan penguins from the Niedegger shop in Lübeck, Germany (the marzipan mothership, as Ned put it):

(#1) (Photo by NAD)

Ned feared that this might be too sweet for me, but I assured him that I am in fact a marzipaniac, have been one since childhood, when marzipan fruits, vegetables, and animals were New Year’s candy treats (and maple sugar candies, especially in the shape of maple leaves, were Christmas specialties, along with chocolate kisses and candy canes).

From Wikipedia:

(#2) Display of gorgeous marzipan food at Niedegger Cafe

Marzipan is a confection consisting primarily of sugar or honey and almond meal (ground almonds), sometimes augmented with almond oil or extract.

It is often made into sweets; common uses are chocolate-covered marzipan and small marzipan imitations of fruits and vegetables. It is also rolled into thin sheets and glazed for icing cakes, primarily birthday, wedding cakes and Christmas cakes. This use is particularly common in the UK, on large fruitcakes. Marzipan paste may also be used as a baking ingredient, as in stollen or banket. In some countries, it is shaped into small figures of animals as a traditional treat for New Year’s Day.

… Marzipan became a specialty of the Hanseatic League port towns. In particular, the cities of Lübeck [in Germany] and Tallinn [in Estonia] have a proud tradition of marzipan manufacture. Examples include Lübecker Marzipan. The city’s manufacturers like Niederegger still guarantee their marzipan to contain two-thirds almonds by weight, which results in a product of highest quality.

The German name has largely ousted the original English name marchpane with the same apparent derivation: “March bread”. (The word marchpane occurs in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Act 1, Scene 5, Line 9.) Marzapane is documented earlier in Italian than in any other language, and the sense “bread” for pan is Romance. The origin could be from the Latin term “martius panis”, which means bread of March. However, the ultimate etymology is unclear.

Not from Niedegger, chocolate marzipan penguins:

(#3) Instructions here for making these little birds

The spinning, or flying, penguin cake. From Kim Darnell, a link to a brief Food Network video about making this composition of iceberg, two big edible penguins, and a small spinning penguin (which must be eaten with care, since it has a magnet inside):


Grape and Hululu, until death did them part. A touching story of love, which I was alerted to by RJP last month. From Wikipedia:

(#5) Grape-kun attending to Hululu

Grape-kun … (April 16, 1996 – October 12, 2017) was a Humboldt penguin (Spheniscus humboldti) at Tobu Zoo located in Saitama Prefecture, Japan. His attachment to a cutout of a character from the anime series Kemono Friends earned him international fame. Grape-kun began to suffer from health issues in early October 2017, and the zoo announced his death on October 12.

Grape-kun was born at Hamura Zoo in Tokyo in 1996. He was named because of the color of the purple ring placed on his wing for identification; the word “kun” is a Japanese honorific usually used when speaking to younger males. It is also commonly used for male pets. Along with his mate, Midori, he was transferred to Tobu Zoo in 2007. After a decade-long relationship, Midori later left him for a younger penguin, which led Grape-kun to become isolated from the other penguins.

In April 2017, Tobu Zoo placed 60 cutouts of characters from the popular anime series Kemono Friends around the grounds to attract visitors. The cutout placed in Grape-kun’s enclosure, Hululu, was an anthropomorphic Humboldt penguin. Grape-kun would stare at the cutout for hours, going as far as trying to reach the cutout, which was placed on a tall rock. Zookeepers had to separate Grape-kun from the cutout for part of the day so he would eat. Media outlets described Grape-kun as having fallen “in love”, and the zoo created a drink called “Loving Grape” described as a “perfect embodiment” of the penguin’s relationship with his love.

Grape-kun’s devotion to the cutout earned him fame and a global fan base on the internet. Hululu’s voice actress, Ikuko Chikuta, visited Grape-kun as part of an educational event on penguins. A festival honoring Grape-kun was planned, but his health began to decline in October. The zoo announced his death on October 12. Zoo personnel created a small shrine in his honor, and several guests visited the penguin enclosure with flowers. Social media users paid tribute through the hashtag #grapekun, and many posted illustrations of Grape-kun and Hululu.

Now all that remains is for someone to create marzipan versions of Grape-kun and Hululu — which could be posed on an iceberg cake.

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