The first stop as we journey through the cities and towns where Gingerbread World's Christmas specialties are made is Nuremberg – famous for Lebkuchen and famous for its annual Christkindlmarkt (Christmas Market).
I have had the pleasure of visiting this beautiful city a number of times in the cooler months as well as in the summer, on my own as well as with kids! My best experiences have always been in the Altstadt (Old City) of Nuremberg
walking along the cobblestone streets enjoying the historic buildings and spaces - especially the Hauptmarkt.
The Hauptmarkt is the large "town square" where the Christmas Market is held during the Advent Season and where farmers markets and festivals are held at other times of the year. As a kid I traveled to Nuremberg at Christmas with my family and have such good memories of walking through the crowds shopping at the many, many stalls. My big purchase was a pair of Zwetschgenmännla (prune men)! When my own children were young we visited Nuremberg during the summer and got to take part in a very fun festival. My kids' favourite part was the mountain (literally a massive pile) of clay over which they could climb and break hunks off to make things!
The last time I was in Nuremberg was in the summer of 2018 when I was traveling with my middle daughter. I was there to visit the three bakeries we import our Lebkuchen from - Lebkuchen Schmidt, Wicklein and Fraunholz. My daughter who was 17 at the time informed me that she was not interested in visiting bakeries and that she was spending the day on her own (kind of weird for a mother to hear that her kid is just going to do her own thing in a different country!!).
There is so much to write about this grand city but I will focus on Lebkuchen!
Tradition has it that Lebkuchen or German gingerbread was first created in the 13th century by monks living in the Franconia (the region around Nuremberg). In 1487 Emperor Frederick III gave Lebkuchen a big moment when he presented 4000 Nuremberg children with Lebkuchen cookies that each had an image of him on it! The Lebkuchen Guild was created in Nuremberg in 1643 and now the ther "Nürnberger Lebkuchen" is protected by law. The Lebkuchen we sell here at Gingerbread World is authentic Nürnberger Lebkuchen.
Back to my 2018 trip to the city. Although the bakeries we buy from all have their baking facilities outside the old town they each have a shop in the Altstadt that I visited. Lebkuchen Schmidt has a small shop on the southeast corner of the Square where you can sometimes see demonstrations of how Lebkuchen is made and you can shop for Lebkuchen year round. Fraunholz (truly a family owned and run bakery) has a small shop - an Elisenlebküchnerei - near the Albrecht Dürer Platz and statue.
A particularly special place to visit if you're interested in Lebkuchen is the Wicklein cafe and shop in the Hauptmarkt. The space is gorgeous with high ceilings and old brick walls. There is a small area for sitting to enjoy coffee, tea, wine and, of course, Lebkuchen. The shop is filled with Wicklein treats. And...you can pre-book to participate in a Lebkuchen making workshop for either 15 € or 25 €
. I did not take the opportunity to do this but the next time I am in Nuremberg I definitely will!
Still relating to Lebkuchen is a tour of the Nuremberg Castle or Nürnberger Burg
. What does the castle have to do with Lebkuchen? It appears on many (many, many) of Schmidt's gorgeous chests and tins
with illustrations from different angles and different eras. The castle hill is a short but somewhat strenuous walk (especially in summer heat) from the Hauptmarkt. The grounds are beautiful and there is lots to see.
My favourite part of my visit to the Castle was climbing the spiral stairs of the round Sinwell Tower built in the 13th century. The views of the city at the top of the tower are excellent but the significance is the photo exhibit showing those same views prior to WWII and after WWII and,of course, you are actually looking at the current views. A testament to the tenacity of the people of Nuremberg to rebuild their city in all its splendor.
There is so much more to Nuremberg and the surrounding areas. I would love to hear your stories of living in or traveling to Nuremberg. Use the comment section below to add to our Travelogue story.
Owner @ Gingerbread World