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Spice up your "Life"

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DE
By Spice Adventurer, 10/12/2019 - 00:41

What is so special about gingerbread? Why do people eat it during Christmas? There are many kind of gingerbreads which have various ingredients in each country in Europe:

In French is called "Pain d'épices" = Spice bread. In German, "Lebkuchen", is suggested to be from latin libum (or german laib = loaf, loaf of bread --> ein Laib Brot), Kuchen means cake or pie. Many people would think of this word, "Leben" = life (noun) or to live, so we should call it "The Pie of Life" because without bread in the old time, there is no life. Shall we call it "the pile of life" because people usually pile them up in a bowl or a plate? Even manufacturers of the German brands also pile up their gingerbreads in the bags:

Now, let's spice up the bread, another name of gingerbread is also called "Pfefferkuchen"= Pepper cake or pie or cookie? The word "Pfeffer" in the old times was not just used for pepper, but as general word for all kinds of spices. So there is no pepper or ginger in the modern german gingerbread, only the traditional one which contains ginger candies:

This style of cookie has usually a round shape covering with icing sugar. It can be normal size or mini size like a cookie:

The special one, oh, my "sweet gingerbread heart", a heart shape filled with apricot jam, plus covering with dark chocolate or mix of spices:

As you can see, the sweet heart is broken when you cut it. Next, "Dominostein" (or Dominosteine in plural) is a layered gingerbread that are sold during Christmas in German speaking countries. It has usually 3 layers covered with dark chocolate or mix of spices. The top layer is Marzipan (almond paste), in the middle is a jelly layer, the bottom part is gingerbread:

In general, There are two types, soft and hard gingerbread. A simple soft type which is usually homemade and softer/moister than the above images, this version is called "Magenbrot" or "Honey Gingerbread" which has similar taste in Europe, commonly is sold at Oktoberfest - Beer festival in Germany (Munich) and during Christmas. The dark topping is not chocolate, just sugar and mix of spices:

Ingredients of this honey gingerbread: 
 
In Switzerland, honey gingerbread is called "Läckerli" (Swiss dialect), derived from a german word "lecker" = delicious, + li = a swiss ending word for small things. It has rectangular shape, contains swiss honey and secret spices. The well-known Läckerli is from Basel city. It is available all year round:


Another variation of gingerbread with a santa image on packaging is available during Christmas only (just a gingerbread and no filling):
 
 
It is usually sold with other candies in a jute bag as a Christmas gift. Santa image seems to be different from time to time, but this bread never changes:
 
 
A specialty from Appenzell called "Appenzeller Biber" or short form "Biberli" is usually round form with honey and almond fillings:
 
 
* Please read article in the food venture if you are interested in this location. There are many other swiss traditional gingerbread from different regions of Switzerland. It could be round or square shape:
 
 
This brand "Lobeli" = cow as you can see a cow logo because it contains milk and butter. Some recipes are made with hazelnut or almond fillings:
 
 
If you wish to try some of swiss traditional cookies, you can order from our shop as well. The other type, the hard one, is like cookies or biscuits. The common type is called "Gewürzspekulatius" = spice biscuit with almonds. It is a traditional spice Christmas cookie:
 
 
According to a story, a german immigrant brought gingerbread to Sweden, a nun baked it to help digestion, that's why it is called "Magenbrot"? and it became a custom to bake and paint gingerbread figures as Christmas decorations.
 
In Sweden, spice cookies are used as decorations on a Christmas tree. Each cookie has a hole to insert a ribbon, then it can be hanged:
 
 
However, when u drop it on the floor, it will break! If you would like to hang cookies that do not break easily, make your own cooking models with polymer clay (not plaster, cement or glass) or buy them. Please browse on our products that may fit your purpose:
 

Another special gingerbread, so called "Oktoberfest Gingerbread Heart". This shape can be seen during the Beer festival in Munich. (like a necklace) The below image is an example of gingerbread hearts from a shop in Vienna:
 
 
In general, gingerbread spices mix to bake a cake or cookies has the ingredients as follows:

During Christmas parents spend time with their children to build and decorate a gingerbread house. The easiest way to build one is buying gingerbread house package. It comes either with separated pieces of gingerbreads as walls and roofs or with marking on gingerbreads to cut it yourself. Some brands offer gingerbread house set including sugar figures for decoration as well:

After building and decorating your gingerbread house, Voilà a witch house (Hexenhaus)!!!!!:

This gingerbread house consists of :

1. German gingerbread house
2. German Jelly sweets
3. German homemade fondant figure (sugar paste)
4. Italian mint chocolate sticks
5. Italian chocolate amaretti
6. American cookies
7. Peppermint candy
8. Food coloring - Blue + jelly powder (Gelatin)
9. Icing

You can bake your own gingerbread with gingerbread spices mix and build a wtich house with a gift wrap and use it as a Christmas decoration:

Please watch our VDO "Building your own gingerbread house or a witch house" and try our food venture map. Do not forget to spice up your "Life."

Have a spice day!

Gingerbread House / Lebkuchenhaus / Maison de pain d'épice / Casa di marzapane / ジンジャーブレッドハウス