Hansel and Gretel - eat your heart out!

The season of Advent is upon us. In Sweden, Advent is holy, not just because it represents a religious tradition, but more practically it celebrates and honours light. Every Sunday through Christmas a new candle is lit, until the four long candles in the Advent candlestick are burning in unison. Throughout the month of December, windows blaze with the traditional triangle shaped candelabra, bringing a hue of gold to the otherwise dark and long winter nights.

Just as candles are an integral part of celebrating Advent, so are pepparkakor (gingerbread cookies) and pepparkakshus (gingerbread houses). Gingerbread is the staple of Swedish Advent coffee gatherings and celebrations and the must-have baked good of the season. It’s fair to say the Swedes are obsessed with it - my wife (and her side of the family) are no exception. Our cupboards are already full to the brim with homemade delights. God help my waistline!

On 1 December the annual exhibition of gingerbread houses opened it's doors at ArkDes, the architecture and design centre in Stockholm. ArkDes is located on the “museum island” of Skeppsholmen, next to the Moderna Museet.

This year's theme is secrets. All bakers are invited to use gingerbread to express their innermost secrets. The freedom to interpret the theme as usual is unlimited. According to the competition rules, the housing bottom plate not exceed 50x50 cm. The pastry may not go beyond these dimensions in any part and shall contain only edible ingredients. The base plate does not have to be edible.

The contestants are divided into categories: 
• Architects, designers and bakers
• Up to 12 years
• All other baking

A jury will select two winners in each category. The jury evaluates the entries based on the criteria color and shape, edible quality, design and how the Board responded to the theme. Take a look at some of our favourites from this years entries...

The sheer amount of detail and craft that goes into these creations is incredible!..

Hansel and Gretel - eat your heart out!

This piece opens it's doors into the magical world of Narnia. 

When we saw this entry we were transported right back to St. Albans ;-)

The overall winner in our eyes was this awesome creation! We loved the curves, the level of detail in the icing and the amazing attention to detail. A truly magical and festive feel that really captured the essence of Swedish Advent!