I love to read about Lebkuchen. I have always loved the flavor of Lebkuchen and gingerbreads something fierce. I can start while watching a movie and eat a plate full by the time the bad guy is caught.
There is so much history behind this little cookie, bar or cake that taste similar to Gingerbread.
I can only give a few tidbits that I think you will enjoy.
How did it become so popular?
Lebkuchen or Gingerbread type cookies became popular in the old world because it is believed that ginger was a natural preservative.
Gingerbread then became popular to make into shapes to take on a hunt, journey or out to sea. So the idea spread quickly to other countries. Honey and spices were always associated with something almost sacred. A honey cake was believed to bring good luck. Soldiers sometimes would wear a honey cake into battle as a Talisman around his neck.
Documents are recorded that Franconia Monks started to make these cookies and give them out to kids as rewards for good prayers and behavior. They even made a special lebkuchen that had loose dough and placed it on rice wafers that they used for communion so they wouldn't stick to the baking pan. These were well liked and to this day are produced and very popular.
I would love to be a part of your Christmas with our Gift Wrapped Cookbook that includes or Special GoodiesPackage seen above, (Bonus Recipes CD, postcards, vanilla beans and vanilla sugar),
Let me personalize it by signing it to you or someone special.
We send it out 2 day priority mail !
same day you order to get there for before Christmas.
There is still time, I get it out the same or next day!
Lebkuchen were first baked in the city of Nuremberg, with the earliest records from the year 1395. During the Middle Ages, spice inspectors at the gates to the city checked the spices used for baking the gingerbreads which traveled as far as China. In 1643 the city of Nuremburg approved the first Lebkuchen Baker's Guild which began with 14 master gingerbread bakers who were bound by strict regulations.
Being along the spice route was one advantage that Nuremberg had. Another was the local Lorenzer Forest. This was a colorful, foresty countryside filled with many different kinds of flowers and blooms - the perfect environment for bees and honey production.
Until 1867, Lebkuchen were made by hand. Automated processing started thereafter with the liberalization of Bavaria's commercial trade.However, many of Nuremburg's bakeries still produce some of their Lebkuchen specialties by hand. using traditional recipes passed down from generation to generation. The oldest gingerbread recipe from the 16th century is housed in the German National Museum in Munich. In 1996, Nuremburg gingerbread was declared a "protected geographical indication" and is authorized to use the EU stamp
In Nuremberg the Christkindle markets are very popular
Lebkuchen of all types can be found
Why at Christmas ?
Many of You had a German great -X- 300 or so were probably part of a Yulefest that sacrificed an animal as an offering to the gods that you would have an easy winter , and a good harvest. These were celebrated around this time of year, when it was cold.
Many families couldn't afford to sacrifice a needed farm animal so they would use a bread or cake shaped as an animals for a symbol. Other shapes like hearts and even people were popular also that had symbolic meaning. This is of course where our gingerbread men came from.
When Christianity came the Yulefests turned into Christmas but the festivals
were so much fun that they just kept them and turned pagan symbols into Religious symbols.
So many shapes of Lebkuchen are in animals and other symbols.
Even pictures are cut out and mounted on top of the lebkuchen.
These are Lebkuchen onto which a picture is drawn or imprinted.
Last year Karen Kinanne bought me a Lebkuchen Santa made by Pahana Lebkuchen company,
when she was in the Kristkindle market in Dresden.
Just cut out your favorite Santa and out paste it on top of the cookie.
Gingerbread Houses are believed to become popular after the German authors
The Grimm brothers wrote Hansel and Gretel . However it may have been the other way around,
that someone had made Gingerbread houses and the Brother's Grimm developed a story around them.