Christmas is always associated with eating and feasts. In the 1800’s the first Christmas trees were spruce trees with edible decors. Cakes, baskets with nuts and raisins, and other kinds of sweets were tied on the branches. Around the room, platters of sweets and biscuits are also abundant.
Traditional biscuits and desserts include gingerbreads, vanilla wreaths, Jew cakes, Finnish bread, Kleiner, fritters and pepper nuts which is the oldest cookie dating back from the 1500’s. It is made of rye flour, honey, wormwood and strong spices. Kleiners, pepper nuts and gingerbreads though are the most common sweets associated with Christmas. Back then honey was used to sweeten them because sugar was expensive and a luxury.
When the first Danish sugar refinery opened in Copenhagen in 1620, gingerbreads became a regular part of special occasions and festivals. They were made in different shapes and decorated with chocolate and icing sugar. They were also given as special gifts to loved ones during Christmas.
Later on marzipans originated from the East. Crusaders from the Holy Land to Europe spoke of these delicious food. It became so famous in Lubeck, North of Germany that many bakers produced it. In 1909 the Danish Odense marzipan factory opened. At that time there were no candy stores or stalls. Sweets were sold in pharmacies alongside medicine, beer, wine, spirits and spices.
With the changing lifestyle and other commercially produced ornaments, most people no longer decorate their tree with edible treats, although Christmas ornaments made of chocolate are still made and sold by some confectioners.