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Saturday, 22 December 2012

Gingerbread was brought to Europe by an Armenian Monk. Whaaat?

The following blurb is copied from Wikipedia.  Another thing we Armenians can brag about. 

Gingerbread was brought to Europe in 992 by the Armenian monk Gregory of Nicopolis (Gregory Makar) (Grégoire de Nicopolis). He left Nicopolis Pompeii, to live in Bondaroy (France), near the town of Pithiviers. He stayed there 7 years, and taught the Gingerbread cooking to French priests and Christians. He died in 999.[1][2][3]During the 13th century, it was brought to Sweden by German immigrants. Early references from the Vadstena Abbey show how the Swedish nuns were baking gingerbread to ease indigestion in 1444.[4] It was the custom to bake white biscuits and paint them as windowdecorations.
The first documented trade of gingerbread biscuits dates to the 17th century[citation needed], where they were sold in monasteries, pharmacies and town square farmers' markets. One hundred years later the town of Market Drayton in ShropshireUK became known for its gingerbread, as is proudly displayed on their town's welcome sign. The first recorded mention of gingerbread being baked in the town dates back to 1793; however, it was probably made earlier, as ginger was stocked in high street businesses from the 1640s. Gingerbread became widely available in the 18th century.

Originally, the term gingerbread (from Latin zingiber via Old French gingebras) referred to preserved ginger. It then referred to a confection made with honey and spicesGingerbread is often used to translate the French term pain d'épices (literally "spice bread") or the German term Lebkuchen (bread of life, literally: cake of life) or Pfefferkuchen (pepperbread, literally: pepper cake). The term Lebkuchen is unspecified in the German language. It can mean Leben (life) or Laib (loaf), while the last term comes from the wide range of spices used in this product.

1 comment:

  1. It looks a little like the cookies made in Christiansfeldt in Denmark by the descendants of a Herrnhuter congregation. The wikipedia explains that the German "Lebkuchen" is something like - and that is a tradition which is also very well-known in Denmark, not entirely like the Herrnhuter "honey-cakes" but in the same direction. :)