|The grand prize winner|
This weekend, I was lucky enough to attend about the Boston Christmas Festival, which included a gingerbread competition. I had seen many of these competitions on the Food Channel, but never got to witness such amazing baking creations up close. Obviously, I jumped at the opportunity.
The houses were all completely astounding in their detail work and imagination. And it got me thinking...
Where does the tradition of gingerbread houses come from?
"The gingerbread house became popular in Germany after the Brothers Grimm published their fairy tale collection which included 'Hansel and Gretel' in the 19th century. Early German settlers brought this lebkuchenhaeusle—gingerbread house—tradition to the Americas.
"Gingerbread houses never caught on in Britain as they did in North America, where some extraordinary examples can be found." —Excerpted from "The History of the Gingerbread House", About.com. For the full article, click here.
Extraordinary examples, indeed.
It seems to me that I'll need to keep three things in mind when planning and working on my gingerbread house this season:
1) Planning—Whether it's written out, drawn out, or just in your mind, having a good plan is key to a successful gingerbread house. Otherwise how will know you what candies and chocolates you want to use to create your design?
2) Have fun with your design—This Dr. Seuss' The Lorax gingerbread house from the competition is a classic example of having fun with a gingerbread design. You don't always have to focus on the holidays, instead pick something that means something to you.
3) Go big or go home—Gingerbread houses are all about the extravagant. Don't worry about overdoing it. This is one instance where bigger is definitely better. Have fun!
Here are some more photos from the gingerbread competition. Hopefully they give you some inspiration for your own designs. Happy baking and decorating!