With the array of wedding favours out there to choose from, we talk to Joanne Hunter, partner at Grasmere Gingerbread ® Shop on why you should choose some ginger loveliness for your guests on your wedding day!
Why has Grasmere Gingerbread® been so popular in the Lake District since its debut?
When Victorian creator cook Sarah Nelson invented Grasmere Gingerbread® in 1854 no-one had tasted anything like it before! Crumbly, chewy, spicy-sweet - a dynamic cross between a biscuit and a cake - it captured the imaginations and taste buds of not only villagers but the increasing number of visitors and tourists to the Lake District. When they returned home, taking pieces of Grasmere Gingerbread® with them, its popularity quickly grew. Sarah Nelson dedicated her life to ensuring that there was always enough freshly-baked Grasmere Gingerbread® available every day of the year to satisfy public demand and she sold it from a tree stump outside her simple Church Cottage home (now the Grasmere Gingerbread® Shop) in Grasmere. It is still made fresh here every day to Sarah's secret recipe and its fame has spread across the world! Step inside the shop and you step back in time. Sarah Nelson would still recognise much of her former home we have always believed in retaining the integrity and authenticity of her life.
Why is ginger associated with love, passion and fertility?
Ginger's warm and spicy qualities are intoxicating on the tongue so no wonder its reputation grew as an aphrodisiac - warming the blood and inducing passion and affairs of the heart! Its mystical and healing properties were celebrated by many different cultures as long ago as 500 BC. South Pacific islanders used ginger in love potions and spells and as it spread around the world via early global trade many different societies embraced this vigorous spice! It is alluded to in Shakespeare, The Arabian Nights and numerous literary texts as a fiery ingredient that promotes amour. I love everything about ginger, including its aroma and the deep sense of well-being it promotes.
Why did you decide that Grasmere Gingerbread® would be ideal for wedding favours?
It was sheer demand by brides-to-be that persuaded us to create the range which is now so popular. We have always produced Grasmere Gingerbread® as traditional oblong-shaped pieces so when customers starting asking us for favours we developed heart-shaped pieces as an option presented in a variety of pouches, boxes and tins. We now visit wedding fairs up and down the country and the response from couples planning their weddings is so positive. The feedback we get from couples who served them on their big day is amazing.
Can you tell us a little bit about the origins of wedding favours?
It's a story that goes back in time! Wedding favours originated in the courts of European aristocrats when they greeted their guests with trinket boxes made of crystal and porcelain encrusted with jewels or gold and silver. These bonbonnieres contained sweet confections - symbols of wealth and position in High Society. As weddings were thought to be lucky, by giving bonbonnieres the happy couple were passing good fortune onto their guests. But sugar was a precious commodity few could afford so many bridal couples would offer their guests tokens such as love knots made from ribbon and lace. Others would create little embroidered linen bags filled with plain almonds. By the 13th Century sugar became more affordable and almonds were coated with sugar for special occasions such as weddings. Over the years, sugared almonds evolved into the coloured, hard candy shelled confections we are familiar with today. Wrapped in delicate fabrics and tied with ribbon, they soon became the "standard" wedding favour although they have fallen out of fashion in recent years.
Why in times gone by was the number five important as a quantity of edibles to give the wedding guests?
Traditionally, five 'edibles' were given to guests symbolising health, wealth, happiness, fertility & longevity. People often ask me why the number five? The main reason is that the number five is indivisible and therefore represents the strength of the new union between a married couple, that they will share everything and not be divided as they go through life.
How do Grasmere Gingerbread® wedding favours combine tradition with ancient mysticism?
With exotic ginger at the heart of all Grasmere Gingerbread® wedding favours - which are then presented in packaging that reflects centuries of history - we create a fusion of the ancient and traditional. We know that guests who receive our tins, pouches or boxes of favours open them very delicately and are always surprised when they bite into the Grasmere Gingerbread® and experience a burst of spicy-sweet taste!
Grasmere Gingerbread® Shop
Church Cottage, Grasmere, Ambleside, Cumbria, LA22 9SW, UNITED KINGDOM
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