There’s New Gluten Free Folk in Town; Gingerbread Folk!

gluten free gingerbreadman

‘Tis the season to dream of Christmas!

It may just be August, but I’ve been in quite the Christmas spirit lately. I even rented some silly x-mas movies last night, and I’m playing with the idea of heading back to Europe come snowfall..

My Christmas dreaming all came to a boiling point the other day when I opened the mail and found the cutest little package from gluten free newcomer Gingerbread Folk. One would think they’d heard my thoughts and sent some Christmas cheer to my rescue!

Gingerbread Folk

A little pack of treats

Christmas is hands down my favorite holiday. In fact it’s my favorite anything! The mood, the tranquility, the traditions, the love, the excitement, the preparations… all of it makes me practically well up!

Of course we all have different traditions, but there is still a unity in this holiday. Most cultures and religions celebrate in their own way around that time of year, and we are somehow brought together.

Cristmas in Norway

Christmas in my hometown Trondheim, Norway (source)

If not every day can literally be like Christmas, I do wish that we could bring some of the Christmas spirit with us throughout the year. We seem to be better people at Christmas. We become more patient, more forgiving and more respectful of our heritage. Even with all the stress that accompanies a major holiday, we still seem to gravitate towards peace. I love that, and I think that’s why Christmas is so important to me.

For me there’s something so lovable about the “coming home” of it all. The familiar smells and sounds that haven’t changed one bit since childhood. The songs, the food, even the TV shows are all the same, and it magically brings me back to a very happy time.

One of the challenges my family faced when I was first diagnosed was the transformation of Christmas into a gluten free yet familiar version. How do we make Christmas safe and still keep the traditions alive? The transformation of age-old recipes into gluten free brought some luck and a fair few errors, but we want our staples. No matter your background, staples are so important. They are the things that holidays are made of!

There’s one staple that seems to cross a myriad of cultures, religions and traditions, and that makes a yearly appearance in most every home, namely gingerbread! In Norway we call it “pepperkake” which means pepper cake, yet it’s the same old cake as anywhere else. Whatever the name, there sure is no Christmas without it!

Ah the smell of gingerbread filling the house is the just the ultimate sign of Christmas..!

gingerbreadhousefail

Worst case (and rather familiar) gingerbread house scenario

Gingerbread is a tricky one, and it can be even trickier to convert to gluten free. One of the challenges is to get the end product sturdy enough to be able to make things like houses and decorations with it.

I used to love gingerbread houses growing up! Even just the idea of a whole bowl full of lollies and the freedom to distribute them. My sister and I used to decorate each our side of the house. It was a lollie eating competition really. In Norway kids have to stare at that gorgeous and candy clad house all the way till new years. On New Years eve we get to crush it with a hammer and go for it. We would have run out of Christmas candy by then so never mind the dust.

Growing up my mum would usually buy the ready kit houses for us to assemble. I remember her attempting a house from scratch one year, but judging by the lack of repeat attempts, I think it’s safe to say that a kit house is the way to go for a busy mum.

I did manage to make gluten free gingerbread last Christmas, but  there was no house, simply because of the dreadful amount of work. This year however, I won’t have that problem. Just take a look at this:

It took me literally 5 minutes to put this together! Obviously I’m not the most talented decorator, but it just comes to show that even a child could do this job 🙂

In my pack from Gingerbread Folk was this awesome little kit house! Just a packet of walls, roof and chimney, all ready to go with egg free royal icing to boot. Even the little silver cardboard base came with, so i needed nothing other than what was in the pack to put it together.

glutenfree gingerbread house kit

It really was a piece of cake to put together, I have no doubt kids could do it all by themselves. The kit came with easy to follow instructions, and there was even a little YouTube tutorial  showing the process. I had so much fun with it. Made a bit of a mess, as you do, and loved it! When I texted my fiancée a picture of the half-way result, he called me up and said “but I wanted to do it too!” 🙂

gingerbreadhouse

My work in progress

The little gingerbread men you see in the pictures come from the same company. You can buy them in individual packs, and they are just too cute with their silly grins and little buttons. When I opened the packet I got the most delicious whiff of honey, which is unusual for gingerbread, but so nice!

My absolute favourite thing about Gingerbread Folk (apart from their gluten free initiative) is their fantastic attention to detail! Admittedly I am a perfectionist, and opening their pack was an utter delight. Everything is packed so neatly in gorgeous branded boxes, supplemented by beautiful little pictures and promotional material. They have the cutest website , and every element is tied together with perfection.Their marketing material is like a drug to an organiser like me, and I love love love it!

gingerbread folk

I also love that they have made a real and proper effort to have their products professionally tested for gluten content only to come out clean. This lovely company also does their bit for the environment by using recyclable materials, which I respect and appreciate.

As I mentioned in my last post “Allergies on the Rise – What can we do and how will it taste?” I have a deep concern for the amount of unnatural additives and chemical foodstuffs we consume on a daily basis. I especially believe it is important for coeliacs to be aware of the products that are used in gluten free processed foods to substitute gluten, and to choose natural where we can. Gingerbread Folk contribute brilliantly to this movement and have added no colours, flavours or preservatives to their products! Well done!

Gingerbread Folk

A very content little monkey enjoying her gingerbread (picture taken before the sugar high..)

If there are any drawbacks with this product at all, it might be that the egg free royal icing has a bit of a strong smell, especially before it’s mixed. However I assume that is the trade-off for being able to enjoy an allergen free and yet very effective product. I imagine it would be alright however to replace some of the added water with lemon juice if you can have citrus. That should take care of it. I must admit that I had my doubts about an egg-free icing being sturdy enough to hold a house together, but the icing was terrific and worked a charm!

I could also mention that the gingerbread was a little soft rather than crispy, but some simply prefer their gingerbread that way, and there is also a notice on the packaging stating that the texture of the product may have some variations due to it being all natural and packed in a compostable wrapper. I think we can forgive them that!

I’m not gonna wait till Christmas with eating my little men, they make for a yummy natural treat any time of the year in my opinion!

I love it, what more can I say. Well done Gingerbread Folk, keep up the good work and welcome to the world of Gluten Free!

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You might also like:

Scandinavian Almond Cakes

Scandinavian Almond Cakes

Peppernuts

Peppernuts – A yummy take on gingerbread!

Lemon Meringue Pie

Easy Lemon Meringue!

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