A Gingerbread City Guards Its Secrets
TORUN, Poland — This medieval city on the banks of the Vistula River is known for two things: the astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus and gingerbread cookies.
Copernicus was born here, although he would move as a student and live most of his life elsewhere. Yet it is the aromatic gingerbread cookie that is the more enduring export, spawning museums and hands-on bakeries dedicated to the popular Christmas treats and a debate over which cookie is best. Artisans have jealously guarded their recipes for centuries, and to this day the blueprint for authentic Torunskie pierniki remains shrouded in mystery.
“There is not just one recipe or one way of making pierniki,” said Anna Kornelia Jedrzejewska, curator at the Museum of Torun Gingerbread, the former factory of Gustav Weese, whose family baked pierniki there for generations. “The problem for us today is that the recipes are quite secret.”
Photo credit: Piotr Malecki