It’s the most wonderful time of the year! With the holiday season upon us, it is time to start celebrating with all of your favorite fun holiday traditions! At Three Brothers Bakery, we especially love the time of year when we get to spend more time baking and building gingerbread houses. Have you ever wondered how this tradition of building houses of cookies and candy even began?
In the eleventh century, the ginger spice was brought to Europe from the Middle East. When it was discovered that ginger had a preservative effect when added to pastries and bread, gingerbread cookies and ginger cakes became a popular sweet treat at fairs, so much so that fairs in Europe were often called “gingerbread fairs.” The making of houses out of gingerbread seems to have begun in Germany, where gingerbread was typically made of a hard and sweet consistency, much like the gingerbread cookies and houses we know and love today. In the German fairytale, Hansel and Gretel stumble upon the witch’s home, which to their surprise is made entirely of gingerbread and sweet candy! This famous story by The Brothers Grimm likely popularized the tradition of making gingerbread houses.
A fun tidbit? Bergen, Norway takes this beloved tradition to the extreme. Each year, school children participate in the building of a miniature version of Bergen, made entirely of gingerbread. It is the world’s largest “gingerbread town” and is made up of elaborate gingerbread homes, trains, cars, ships and more!
These edible creations remain a favorite holiday tradition for children, families and bakers alike! Who wouldn’t love a home made entirely of sweet cookies, icing and candy? Here are some favorites we’ve created recently: