A Pretty Sweet Retreat: Where the Gingerbread House Comes From

Winter Truffle Collection, including gingerbread
Delysia’s Winter Truffle Collection features the flavor of gingerbread.


Right up there with candy canes and the guy with the long white beard and big red coat, the gingerbread house is a Christmastime icon. Who doesn’t have fond memories of “gluing” together spicy gingerbread with icing and dotting the whole house with their favorite confections? But for such a beloved holiday tradition, the origin of the gingerbread house is somewhat of a mystery.

Gingerbread itself has been around for a long time, with the first recipe popping up in ancient Greece. During medieval Europe, decorating gingerbread cookies became immensely popular, and the sweet treats were such a staple at medieval festivals that the events soon became known as “Gingerbread Fairs.”

But constructing and decorating gingerbread houses didn’t become popular until the 16th century in Germany. Can you guess what beloved book was published during this time period? That’s right – Grimm’s Fairy Tales, a collection of folklore that included a very peculiar little story called “Hansel and Gretel.” To refresh your memory: the story is about a brother and sister who nearly fall prey to a cannibalistic witch that lives in a house made of gingerbread and candy deep in the woods. Who would’ve thought that such a dark story would give rise to such a sweet holiday tradition? All’s well that ends well; Hansel and Gretel outsmart the witch and escape, and not before tasting a bit of her delicious house.

An illustration of the gingerbread house in "Hansel and Gretel" from a 1910 version of Grimm's Fairy Tales. Via Wikimedia Commons.
An illustration of the gingerbread house in “Hansel and Gretel” from a 1910 version of Grimm’s Fairy Tales. Via Wikimedia Commons.

It’s not known if the “Hansel and Gretel” story is what sparked the gingerbread house building craze, or if the story itself reflects a preexisting practice. Historians do know that when German settlers embarked for America, they brought the gingerbread house tradition with them. We say danke for that.

The gingerbread tradition continues to evolve – with Delysia’s help. For a new twist on tradition, try the Gingerbread Truffle from Delysia’s Winter Truffle Collection; the kick of richly spiced gingerbread melds with the smooth, sweet flavor of Delysia’s chocolate for a distinctive wintertime treat. You’ll also enjoy the classic seasonal flavors of Mint and Eggnog in this collection. So channel your inner Hansel and Gretel and enjoy Delysia’s sweet holiday treats this December.

Nicole Patel

Nicole Patel is the proprietor of and chocolatier for Delysia Chocolatier. In 2006 while pregnant with her first son, Nicole made a batch of chocolate truffles as holiday gifts. To the delight of friends and family, she continued to create chocolates as a way to relieve stress from her corporate engineering job. In 2008, a chance trip to Becker Vineyards led to Nicole being the first in Texas to make truffles using local wines. Within five years, what started as a hobby turned Delysia into one of the Top Ten Chocolatiers in the Americas, as selected by the International Chocolate Salon.