January is a gloomy month for many reasons – we’ve finally reached the end of the most magical, but indulgent, time of year doubtless heavier and almost certainly poorer, the decorations have been put away and all that’s left rattling around the Quality Street tin in is the coffee and orange crèmes that nobody wanted. Most of us will have gorged on mince pies, mulled wine, hot chocolate as well as the tastiest gingerbread, all possibly washed down with a cheeky Baileys. But why exactly is it that we only eat certain foods at certain times of the year? It’s ingrained in us from when we are able to understand that Christmas is the time that eating and drinking to excess is not just allowed, it’s actively encouraged and playing games is almost compulsory. All our senses are over stimulated in the most decadent way which of course includes savouring the most intoxicating smells and aromas. Ask any number of people what Christmas smells they like the most and gingerbread is bound to come up again and again along with fresh pine, mince pies, hot chocolate and mulled wine. With its blend of ginger, cloves, cinnamon, sugar and syrup gingerbread is a smell that wraps its arms around you bringing instant comfort. Gingerbread makes the perfect year round gift Gingerbread’s not just for gobbling, if you’re searching for a holiday craft to do with the kids, you’ll probably find yourself looking up the best gingerbread house making kits to make sure they have a great time creating the most scrumptious houses. They certainly make a lovely edible gift for family and friends as they can be decorated so individually and beautifully with icing, sweets and ribbons making them almost too good to eat. The funny thing is, gingerbread really can and certainly ought to be considered a year-round thing. Lebkuchen are a delicious treat Homemade Lebkuchen Biscuits Look to Germany where you can find ‘lebkuchen’ at train stations, festivals, cafes and supermarkets at any time of the year. Often they are heart shaped and can be inscribed with sweet personal messages in icing – many are almost certainly taken home as souvenirs by tourists searching for a special, unique edible gift. Also from Germany is The Brothers Grimm fairytale with the witch who tried to trick Hansel and Gretel that ultimately resulted in them finding themselves in front of a beautiful gingerbread house, safe from danger. But while this story may be associated with Christmas because of the gingerbread house, we are forgetting another famous story where a Gingerbread Man (run, run as fast as you can, you can’t catch me I’m the gingerbread man!) is crafted by a lonely lady who was unable to have children, so she literally tries to make her own. Although soon after he’s baked, he rather cruelly runs from the woman’s oven. There’s no mention of Christmas in this tale and illustrations in books would indeed indicate this was a summer story. Though it is fairly well known that you can usually find a half decent gingerbread man in traditional bakeries year-round, it’s often just supermarkets selling the ubiquitous individually wrapped standard uniform gingerbread man – but the mass-produced versions aren’t a patch on home-baked gingerbread made with love. The future of gingerbread is bright And on the plus side, the future of gingerbread is looking very bright. According to a report by Global Trade in January last year, in Germany with 18,000 tons and Ireland with 17, 000 tons represented the major exporters of gingerbread in 2018 and the market forecast for the years 2019-2025 within the EU, an upward consumption trend is expected over the next decade with an estimated 304,000 tons being exported by the end of 2030. While sadly, the UK is not included in these figures, it does indicate that gingerbread is continuing and will continue to grow in popularity – a sweet victory indeed. All that is needed is a little imagination outside of Christmas. Luckily for the lovers out there, gingerbread is fairly malleable, so why not think about ordering a mock-up of your own house or buying one as a unique housewarming gift, the only flipside to this is that your friends or clients may of course not want to eat it. Many couples choose eye catching centrepieces for their weddings, tiers of cheese, pyramids of cupcakes so why not opt for a gingerbread creation – the church you got married in or even the pub you first met in – no holds barred. There are countless creations Gingerbread World can craft for you – original surprises for Halloween ‘trick or treaters’ – just think Frankenstein figures, witches and ghouls, eyeballs or spiders’ webs. Shamrocks for St Patrick’s Day, an entire football or rugby team in your club’s colours, the list is endless. Business owners can also benefit from the flexibility and durability of the sweet dough – branded cookies or model houses for estate agents to give their clients – it would certainly leave a lasting impression. Check out our corporate pages for branded gingerbread ideas.