Gingerbread Hearts for our Wedding
The history of gingerbread goes far back in time. Historians have found written proof that already in 350 before Christ the ancient egyptians used to bake a cake that was similar to what we know as gingerbread today.
However the gingerbread hearts as we know them today are a typical bavarian speciality from Munich.
When bavarian bakers first designed the „Lebkuchenherz“ (german for gingerbread heart) they wrote small poems and sayings on them. Back then, the Lebkuchenherz was considered to be a small piece of art. Today the text on the typical „Oktoberfest heart“ features bavarian pet names and touristy greetings.
The gingerbread heart has become an internationally known symbol for the „Oktoberfest“ – a bavarian festival celebrating the royal mariage of crown prince Ludwig of Bavaria with princess Therese of Sachsen-Hildeburghausen on the 12th of october 1810. What initially started off as a horserace to honor the royal couple quickly became a huge fair that starts in september and closes its doors in october.
But enough with the history and back to the gingerbread hearts.
As they stand for romance and love we have decided that they would make an ideal wedding favor. So in September 2014 I made 120 Gingerbread hearts for our bavarian-french wedding on the 4th of October 2014.
Making gingerbread isn’t exactly a „quick project“:
Because the leavening agents used for traditional gingerbread are potassium carbonate and ammonium carbonate the dough needs to rest for three days in a warm place in order to rise before it can be shaped and baked.
After baking, the hearts harden up and need to rest for another 1-2 weeks in an (almost) airtight container – ideally you should add some apple-slices into each container in order to allow the gingerbread to soften up more efficiently.
After decorating the gingerbread hearts with Royal Icing we wrapped them up in plastic wrap that we „sealed“ with selfmade labels.
Needless to say that the hearts were a huge success – especially with our french guests!
….And only a couple of months later – in december – I got to make another batch of approximately 25 gingerbread hearts: this time I donated them for the good cause. The local association for animal protection was participating in the Christmas Market, in order to raise money for the construction of an animal shelter.
So the gingerbread hearts that I made had to be Christmas & animal themed this time! What a challenge !
I managed to find (and make up) a couple of pet names that were referring to animals, winter and/or Christmas such as “my little polar bear”, “my little snowrabbit”, “my christmas star”, “my little angel”, “my little christmas elf”, etc.
What do you think? Did you also go for wedding favors with a “tradition” ?