In the middle of the Corona crisis I started missing "peperkoek", my and soon your favorite Flemish gingerbread. These are the little things from home that you miss abroad. No deal I thought, for sure I will find some in the supermarket. "Fehlanzeige", nil. I think I turned three supermarkets upside down but did not find anything close to it.
Only during the Christmas period you will find a lot of "Lebkuchen" in Germany. So I started realizing that it must indeed be a regional product from Flanders and the Netherlands. I was in high need of the taste, so I decided to bake it myself.
About your favorite Flemish gingerbread
This is a typical case where the name is not covering the load. Neither in English, nor in Dutch. You may see in the ingredient list that neither ginger, nor pepper are on the ingredient list. This goes back to the middle ages where all kinds of new spices were grouped under one name: pepper. You see this also in a lot of other languages: pepperkaker (Norwegian), pepparkakor (Swedish), brunkager (Danish), piparkÃ¶kur (Icelandic), piparkakut (Finnish) and piparkÅ«kas (Latvian) or piparkoogid (Estonian).
In England the spiced cake became known as gingerbread in the 17th - 18th century. The town Market Drayton in Shropshire became known as the home of gingerbread. This is more or less half way between Birmingham and Manchester.
The typical ingredients for gingerbread spices are cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon coriander seeds, anise, pepper and maybe also ginger.
More Belgian and Flemish surprises
I often say that in Belgium we are good in anything that is unhealthy. Apart from your favorite Flemish gingerbread we also have fries, chocolates and beer to name some. Surprising.recipes meanwhile has a lot of delicious Belgian inspired dishes you might enjoy:
- Belgian beer steamed mussels
- Bacon wrapped Brussels sprouts
- Belgian endives and arugula salad with blood sausage
- oven dish with chicory and leek
- Belgian blue cheese bacon waffles
If you speak Dutch, you can find the Dutch version of this recipe on gerechtenweb.blog.