Monday, December 21, 2015

Desperately Seeking Gingerbread in Strasbourg

I grew up eating gingerbread men, women, pigs, cats, dogs for Christmas. The rest of the year I got by on gingersnaps.
Naturally you would think Strasbourg in Alsace would be loaded with gingerbread.
You would be very wrong.
Strasbourgundians (I made that word up) are overly fond of anything pain d'epice - a kind of honey spice bread and very soft to boot.
Bonjour tristesse.
So many festive boulangeries in Strasbourg
Filled to the brim with kuglehopf and other local specialties. And I do mean filled.
Certainly they have the right cookie cutters to make a decent gingerbread man or dog.
These must be from the US since they bear the word 'GINGERBREAD'

They have the essential spices too, but they choose to put them into their steaming pots of mulled wine only. Why is this? Should I move to Strasbourg and open my own gingerbread shop?
I was certain peeking in the window that these were hard, crisp gingerbread. They were not ;(

Pain d'epice usually comes in giant loaves. Franchement I think it a bit unfair to deceive innocents like myself making pain d'epice into santa men shapes. Don't you?

People who live in gingerbread-style houses

Should eat gingerbread! There oughtta be a law. Humph

I was drawn to the creme de la creme of patisseries in Strasbourg, Thierry Mulhaupt

I was drawn to his beautiful passion fruit and citron tartes, but no gingerbread.

I did of course get a small passion fruit tarte for research purposes natch. Yum yum

This patient medieval doggie in the Musee de l'Oeuvre Notre-Dame looks like he's waiting for a gingersnap in my opinion.

This rather downcast medieval doggie looks like he didn't get his gingersnap.

I mean do these soft, puffy cakes look tasty to you? Be honest. Where's the crunch? Where's the snap?

OK. Clearly this is a Noodle lady in traditional dress. No one is fooled here.
In the end I did get a gingerbread woman of sorts...
Perhaps the December Paris map is a subliminal homage to the missing gingerbread in my life..
I did hear recently of an American making real gingerbread cookies in the 3rd. I will investigate further and report back Parisbreakfast fans. Fingers crossed.


  1. I hear you about the crispy gingerbread of childhood and the Nabisco snaps. Could it be that you need to travel to Sweden for the crispy variety? Your pouty frustration brings out the best in your writing ... Gave me a good morning coffee laugh!

    1. Haha
      I did go to the Swedish Christmas fete at the church.
      So many snaps. It was like land mines everywhere for me!! :)

  2. The little felt one is very cute..
    what you are mostly finding are Manneles..I first learned of them from Hélène,in Cannes..I have made some and aboslutely right you's not gingerbread cookies..that you are used to:)
    So darn pretty there:)
    Bonjour Tristesse..1958:)My husband picked one of our daughter's names..from Mylène Demongeot.

  3. Thank you Carol for the joy you bring to the world. Joy to your world and happy holidays!

  4. Bonnie L10:00 AM

    Oh my, I feel like I steered you wrong (to Strasbourg!). Saw many small decorated "gingerbread" boys hanging from stalls in front of the Cathedrale - who knew they were pain d'epice! All the vin chaud I drank must have clouded my judgement!

    Love seeing Strasbourg through your artist's eyes! It is a beautiful place; I need to go back in the summertime for a different perspective. Bonnes fêtes, Carol!

    1. I bet those were tree ornaments.
      Strasbourg is tree ornament center of the world.

  5. I grew up loving the gingerbread boys (and girls) from a local bakery. Only raisins for decoration, but oh my! did those babies have great flavor, the prefect balance of crispy and chewy and delicious flavor. I have searched high and low for something similar ever since, but to no avail. Perhaps it's time to take matters into my own hands.................

    Wishing you a joyous holiday season and Happy New Year!

    1. yes the raisin buttons...much better than a load of colored icing.

  6. cyndi from SD11:16 AM

    I am a lover of the pain d'epice,but when we want a gingerbread cookie we want a gingerbread cookie. Good luck in Paris with your search.
    Keep warm and have a beautiful holiday season.

  7. Sometimes gingersnaps will have to do. Love the lemon tarts - good anytime of the year. Merry, Merry Christmas, Carol, and may your New Year be spectacular.

    1. if only they had Keebler's GINGERSNAPS here!!!
      if only...dreaming of gingersnaps...

  8. Terrific post on Strasbourg!
    The gingerbread dilemma!
    LOVE IT!!

  9. Here's hoping you find the perfect gingerbread man for Christmas!! Bear didn't get to go to Strasburg?

    1. Bear stayed in the room...
      I was afraid of losing him :((

    2. Hope you brought him a special treat :)

  10. I'm with you Carol. Need the crunch and snap. Don't like soft cookies. Loved Strasburg and Colmar!!

  11. thank you for this beautiful adventure. I received my first letter and love it! Strasbourg is so beautiful. Have a lovely Christmas

  12. THANK YOU.....ABSOLUTELY MAGICAL. Your photos are lovely, and I'm so glad you shared so many with us.

  13. Love the Strasbourg post. Love love.

  14. Oh no! What a deception! Your need to do the same as me a make your own gingerbread before Christmas! I think I'll make mine on Christnas eve. Beautiful photos though, even if they are disguised as gingerbread. Joyeux Noël!! :)

    1. THANKS Kirrabelle,
      But I am untrustworthy around gingerbread raw dough.
      It would never make it to the oven. :(

  15. Blaine C12:59 AM

    Just want you to know that I love what you do.

    Have a Merry Christmas.

  16. Bonnie1:02 AM

    Yes for MORE Strasbourg, Carol!

    Loved this big, wonderful, gingerbread boy story today

  17. Foodwalker1:09 AM

    Your December blogs have been like receiving special Christmas gifts each time.
    Thank you so much.
    Hope you are able to enjoy some of the pleasure you're giving others!

  18. The pain d'epice simply bewilders me. But gingerbread us a whole different story! I have been hoarding gingerbread recipes for a taste-off. Perhaps this is the year to bake them?

  19. I'm so very behind on reading things but I want to wish you the Merriest of Christmasses and a wonderful new year! I look forward to calming down and reading all I've missed -- and oh, the fun of the new year!


Love hearing from you