This holiday season, be sure to add the magic of a gingerbread house to your celebration. Your children will be captivated by the snowy layers of icing, the sugar windows and the festive candy decorations. And unlike the fairytale witch who owned a gingerbread house in the woods, you can encourage them to nibble on the hedges and pick off the nonpareils.
If you don’t have the time and patience to spend hours baking, assembling and decorating one of these charming centerpieces, visit one of these local bakeries that will do it for you.
It’s a Winner
For more than 15 years, Beth Venuto, of Ginger Betty’s Bakery in Quincy, has been decorating her award-winning gingerbread castles and houses with gumdrops and penny candy. In 2007, the bakery won the gingerbread contest at the annual World Trade Center’s Boston Christmas Festival for Best in Show, Kid’s Choice and Best Tasting, and since then has been taking home awards each year, such as Kids Choice (2015), Best Decoration (2014) and Best in Show (2013). You can order your own custom-designed and handcrafted gingerbread house for any special occasion. Or visit the bakery for gingerbread cookies, gingersnaps, candies and kits for making your own edible buildings. Ginger Betty’s also offers parties where kids of all ages can make gingerbread masterpieces. Ginger Betty’s Bakery, 215 Samoset Ave., Quincy, 617-472-4729; gingerbettys.com.
A Tasty Business
What started out as a delicious hobby – selling handmade gingerbread houses and cookies at craft shows – turned into a full-time business for John and Janet D’Orsi. Now this husband and wife team has two stores: the original Gingerbread Construction Company retail store in Winchester and the company’s full-fledged bakery in Wakefield. Although some people may limit their gingerbread spice to the winter holiday season, the D’Orsi family likes to decorate gingerbread houses for Valentine’s Day, Easter, Halloween and Thanksgiving as well. You can order everyday or undecorated houses all year long. Plus, the shops offer a great selection of gourmet muffins, cookies, brownies and biscotti. Gingerbread Construction Company, 52 Main St., Wakefield, 781-246-2200; 562 Washington St., Winchester, 781-729-7700; gingerbreadusa.com.
Gingerbread Workshops in Massachusetts
If you want to learn how to make a gingerbread house, check out one of these workshops – just remember to make a reservation early as spots will fill up quickly. Zebra’s Bistro and Wine Bar in Medfield (zebrasbistro.com/gingerbread) hosts a Gingerbread House Making Class every year, which is recommended for children 6 years old and up. Verrill Farm (verrillfarm.com) in Concord offers three Gingerbread House Workshops for kids in early December. Or craft a gingerbread house with proceeds benefitting pediatric cancer research. For more information on this December 12 event in Winchester that is sponsored by The Jimmy Fund, visit jimmyfund.org/events/cancer-fundraising-events/gingerbread-workshop.
DIY Gingerbread House Decorating
Would your children like to create their own work of art? While the Dancing Deer Baking Company in Boston does not have its own storefront, you can find its Sweet Home Gingerbread House Kit at Whole Foods markets, Roche Brothers and other local gourmet supermarkets during the winter holiday season, or on its website year round. Dancing Deer Baking Company; 617-442-7300; dancingdeer.com.