Whether gingerbread, Lebzelten or Pfefferkuchen: It is the same sweet pastry with regional and historical variations in the recipe. It’s a classic, shelf-stable Christmas cookie with spices like cinnamon, cloves, anise, cardamom, ginger or nutmeg, and sugar syrup and/or honey. Gingerbread is a tradition in various countries. In Germany there was a separate guild of Lebküchler or Pfefferküchler for this purpose.
The term gingerbread came from the common form pepper for spices par excellence. Most spices are not cultivated in our latitudes and their general availability has only become a matter of course in more recent times. But what is meant by a gingerbread is a gingerbread.
This pastry comes in a variety of shapes. Round, rectangular or cut into pieces, with wafers (e.g. Elisenlebkuchen) and without wafers. (Wafers are paper-thin wafers made of flour, water and starch). The best-known regional gingerbreads are the Nuremberg gingerbread, the Pulsnitz gingerbread, the Mecklenburg gingerbreads and Aachener Printen.