Building Wellington’s biggest ever gingerbread house

This stunning house was baked by Te Papa’s Executive Chef, Bernd Lippmann. It’s the biggest ever made in Wellington! Check out the time-lapse video to see how it was done.

The tradition started in Germany, where witches have long used gingerbread as a building material. In 1812, the brothers Grimm broke this news when they wrote the fairytale Hansel and Gretel. This story offered useful tips about:

  • nasty stepmothers
  • the poor choice of crumbs as tracking material
  • the clever use of a bone to prevent consumption by witch.

All this seemed perfect for an opera, and soon German opera houses were busy making replica gingerbread houses for their performances. Bakeries were quick to join the craze. Gingerbread houses are now part of Christmas menus across Europe.

What went in

Our gingerbread house contains …

  • Flour                            296 kilograms
  • Sugar                          148 kilograms
  • Honey                          29.6 kilograms
  • Water                          74 litres
  • Butter                          44.4 kilograms
  • Baking soda                6.29 kilograms
  • Ground ginger             4.44 kilograms
  • Mixed spice                 2.22 kilograms
  • Cinnamon                   2.22 kilograms
  • Milk                              14.8 litres
  • Salt                              370 grams

Baking time: about 180 hours

Make your own!

You can make your own gingerbread house by buying a kit from the Information Desk, Te Papa Kids’ Store (Level 2), or Te Papa Cafe (Level 1). This is a limited edition of only 300! All proceeds go to Wellington Children’s Hospital.

Gingerbread house from a Te Papa kitset

Gingerbread house from a Te Papa kitset

2 Responses

  1. Susan


    I’m looking for some good gingerbread recipes, and somehow ended up on this page so thought I’d leave a comment.

    Awesome job on the gingerbread house, guys. I’d like to see it if it’s on display somewhere.



  2. Adele

    takes you back to Hansel and Gretel! I remember winning a Gingerbread house some years back, enjoyed it with the Carter Home in Carterton, the old folk were thrilled with being able to share it with me.. all kids at heart!


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