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    Autumn is a perfect season to visit the Living Museum of Gingerbreads in Toruń

    Autumn is a perfect time of the year to visit the Living Museum of Gingerbreads in Toruń and learn about the tradition of baking gingerbreads and the history of the city and its medieval culture. The museum won several awards. In 2017, it won the Golden Quality of the Polish Tourism Organization for Best Product of The Year. The most popular and one of the most wanted and prestige awards in the tourism industry in Poland.

    The Living Museum of Gingerbreads in Toruń has two floors. The first floor magically takes the visitors to the Medieval times. Here you can learn about every ritual connected with baking gingerbreads. It all takes place under the watchful eyes of m Gingerbread Master and charming Gingerbread Witch. The visitors prepare dough by themselves and then bake the specialties of Toruń in traditional wooden molds.

    The second floor is a manufacturing room from the 19th and the early 20th century, managed by the Rabiański siblings. Here the visitors will see, for example, the original German machines (which were used to bake ginberbreads), a vintage baking oven and the collection of wax gingerbread molds. What is more, everyone has a chance to decorate their own gingerbread with icing and take part in gingerbread decorating workshop led by the rzez Painter.

    Gingerbread cookies taste best in autumn …

    We associate autumn with the richness and variety of colors in nature. It is also the time of completion of field work and preparations for winter. Meanwhile, from September to November, our ancestors had an extremely busy and full of tasks time. This also applied to the gingerbread makers, who at that time supplied themselves with the ingredients needed to prepare the Christmas baking of gingerbread.

    Currently, we can see that the production of gingerbread is increasing in autumn and the interest in spicy delicacies is increasing. For us at the Toruń Gingerbread Museum it is an intense time related to the preparations for the “Katarzynka Christmas Festival” and the “Christmas fragrant Gingerbread” event!

    We wish you and ourselves a beautiful, colorful and fragrant gingerbread autumn!
    @Photo. Krzysztof Deczyński

    A legend about Toruń Katarzynka:

    Many centuries ago, there was a master of gingerbread in Toruń who enjoyed a special recognition. Firstly, because his products were incredibly tasty, and secondly, he was liked for his kindness. He was a man willing to help, his smile never left him, and his heart was open to other people. More than once, he sold his baked goods to those who were in trouble so that they could also enjoy the taste of delicious gingerbread cookies. The master had a daughter named Katarzynka, a little girl with the same radiant face and a sensitive disposition as her father. She liked observing her father’s work and from an early age, she was bustling around the gingerbread house, trying to help with every activity. Years passed, and Katarzynka grew up into a beautiful young woman. In the meantime, the older and older Master was working hard to earn a prosperous future for himself and his daughter.

    One day he fell seriously ill and did not have the strength to bake gingerbread for the inhabitants of Toruń anymore. This caused him great worries, as there were many bakers in the city willing to take his place. So he called his daughter over and asked her to replace him. However, this new task was very risky. A girl in the role of the master of gingerbread – it was unthinkable! The journeymen and the other masters were not satisfied with this idea and looked at Katarzynka with suspicion. However, this time they decided to make an exception and let her work. They believed that the master would recover quickly and the old order would return.

    Katarzyna watched her father heating honey, kneading dough, and imprinting gingerbread shapes so many times that she immediately started working. She knew the recipe and easily prepared a portion of the gingerbread dough. She wanted to prove that she would be equal to him. When it was time to shape the baked goods, it turned out that the wooden forms carved by her father had disappeared. She looked into every corner, but found them nowhere. Could some of the apprentices not want her up to the task? She did not want to bother the already weakened old man, so she decided to shape the dough herself. She grabbed a small tin cup and began cutting medallions with it. She put them in pairs into the hot stove. They landed close to each other, because Katarzyna wanted to fit as many of them as possible. Where three pairs merged into one cake, a previously unknown shape was created.

    Katarzyna placed the cooled gingerbread cookies in the basket and went to the Market Square, wondering if she would sell them despite of their strange shape. She was very surprised when it turned out that the fragrant gingerbread made the inhabitants of Toruń and even visiting merchants interested. The gingerbread cookies became even more popular than before. Their shape was unique and the taste was delicious. Katarzyna did not change the recipe, but put all her love for her old father into the preparation. Everyone who tried her gingerbread cookies appreciated them deeply.

    The shape that was created inadvertently has survived. Many years after Katarzynka, it was repeated by other gingerbread makers. Even today, the characteristic form of the six medallions joined together is unmistakable with any other. Wandering around Toruń for the scent of gingerbread, you will surely come across those with a graceful name derived from the name of a hardworking and loving Katarzynka.

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