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The Crusaders were originally responsible for this holiday treat, for they introduced ginger to eleventh century Europe on their return from the Middle East.

The cookie-like substance didn’t become popular during the winter though, until French and German bakers united and formed gingerbread guilds during the fifteenth century.

In those days there were strict laws regarding spe­cialty breads, and since gingerbread was categorized as such, its production was only allowed during Easter and Christmas.

Because bakers always had stalls in the European Christmas markets-and no Easter marketplace existed-its spicy fla­ vor and heavenly scent soon became associated with the winter holidays.