Gingerbread is claimed to have been brought to Europe in AD 992 by an Armenian monk names Gregory of Nicopolis.

Gregory  left Nicopolis, Pompeii, to live in Bondaroy (France), near the town of Pithiviers. He stayed there seven years and taught gingerbread baking to French Christians.

 

 

Ancient Greek Building in Athens

By the 15th century the art of gingerbread baking became popular around Europe, and slightly later, became enjoyed in the U.K.

Market Drayton in Shropshire is famous for being the ‘Home of Gingerbread.’ To find out more about Market Drayton’s and its celebrated gingerbread, click here.

Russian gingerbread men, hand decorated on a patterned back ground

However, gingerbread is thought to have its origins with the ancient Greeks and Egyptians. Around the time of 2000 BC approximately, wealthy Greek families would sail to the Isle of Rhodes to buy “spiced honey cakes” and both Greeks and Egyptians used a form of honey cake for ceremonial purposes. 

Later, the Romans made special, highly spiced, honey cakes cooked in a clebanus (a type of portable oven) in their dining rooms. The Romans also made their little honey cakes in the shape of hearts, associating them with weddings. They eventually became edible love tokens.