It amazes me how gingerbread varies in the UK (and elsewhere). In some parts of the country it’s a pale biscuit, elsewhere it’s a dark biscuit or a sponge. In a time of globalisation and mass production of food, I’ve taken an interest in traditional recipes and local foods. I think it’s worth visiting different areas where gingerbread is made and trying the different gingerbreads.
Click here to see my Gingerbread recipes.
The recipe for Ashbourne Gingerbread is said to come from French prisoners of war, who were kept in Ashbourne during the Napoleonic wars.
Where to buy Ashbourne gingerbread
Grantham gingerbread has a very pale colour as it is made with white sugar. In the past white, or refined, sugar was the most expensive – so serving
Grantham gingerbread was a way of showing off how rich you were.
Grasmere Gingerbread is made with dark sugar and is very spicy. Historically people from this area would have sold their wool all over the world – and would import molasses and spices from the Caribbean.
Where to buy Grasmere gingerbread
Ingleton Gingerbread is a cake, made with ginger and cinnamon.
Where to buy Ingleton gingerbread
Kirriemuir gingerbread is another ginger flavoured cake created by a baker named Walter Burnett.
Where to buy Kirriemuir gingerbread
Market Drayton Gingerbread
Market Drayton Gingerbread is one of our oldest gingerbreads – with records showing that it was made in the town in 1793.
Where to buy Market Drayton gingerbread
Ormskirk Gingerbread also has a long history – with records showing it was sold to stage coach passengers in the 18th century.
Where to buy Ormskirk gingerbread
Wem Gingerbread is similar to Market Drayton gingerbread
Whitby Gingerbread is a very dry gingerbread – as it would have been taken by sailors on long sea journeys.
Where to buy Whitby gingerbread
A letter, from “An old boy” in the Llangollen Advertiser 15th October 1869 is full of praises for Wrexham Gingerbread:
The respectable town of Wrexham enjoys a deserved celebrity, which seems likely to increase by the circulation of the Wrexham Guardian. It is famed for its beautiful church, for its good ale, for its delicious sauce, and for its excellent gingerbread. The last named article is far superior to the sorts made in other places, such as Ormskirk, Market Drayton, and Norfolk. It really has plenty of ginger in it, whereas it may be doubted whether that made in other places has any at all. Gingerbread in general, is a very good thing, and often to be preferred to biscuits. One hot day, when I was ascending Carnedd Llewelyn, the mountain in Wales next in height to Snowdon, I was very thankful for a piece of gingerbread, when I could not swallow biscuits. Let tourists notice that. Another day, I was cured of an internal pain by eating a piece of good Wrexham gingerbread. Let doctors notice that. It is a pity that this excellent particle is not more extensively known. May I suggest to the respectable bakers and confectioners of Wrexham, who are in possession of the original recipe, that they should advertise Wrexham gingerbread in our columns. It would be a kindness to the public and also a benefit to themselves.—Yours sincerely,
AN OLD BOY.
I’ve also added a map showing the location of different gingerbreads here.
It’s a “work in progress”. Should I include Cornish Fairings, Norfolk Fair Buttons and Yorkshire Parkin?
Please contact me if I’ve missed any.