Old Town Bakery owner

A gingerbread masterpiece

It’s not often that you get to have your place – even an imaginary one – and eat it too

It’s not often that you get to have your place – even an imaginary one – and eat it too, but for Geoff Cram, owner of the Old Town Bakery in Ladysmith, his annual gingerbread house is a delectably edible piece of architecture.

This is the twelfth year – or thereabouts – Cram has been building his annual gingerbread creations at the Old Time Bakery, a tradition that started four or five years earlier when, as a child care worker, he used to  build gingerbread houses as an annual activity.

Since transferring the tradition to Old Town Bakery, his works have become bigger, more elaborate and more popular. From small, edible abodes atop one of his display cases, the projects have grown to the proportions of castles. “Now it’s kind of a personal challenge,” he said.

This year’s masterpiece is an invitation to imagine the inner workings of a sweater factory, which looks for all the world like a candy and icing coated version of the Kremlin.

Gingerbread men, or boys, enter the top of the factory unclothed, and emerge below, sporting brightly decorated sweaters. Watching over the process are strategically placed minions.

There’s more to this illusion than you might be aware of. Cram achieves perspective by layering the scenes, and reducing the scale of characters, architecture and other elements as you go farther back.

But the whole thing is put together without an elaborate plan or drawing. He makes the gingerbread panels, doctorates them before assembly, then puts it all together on the fly.

What goes into a gingerbread house. In Cram’s case, a lot of everything. Ingredients include: 24 pounds of flour, 8 pounds of butter, four dozen eggs, and four litres of molasses; plus six weeks or so working on the masterpiece as time permits; plus a lot of inspiration and a sense of fun.

People love the results, and that’s one of the gratifications Cram gets out of the project. “For us the cool thing was when families started coming in and getting their pictures taken in front of it,” he said.

As for the edibility of the masterpiece, well, that’s not the fate for Cram’s projects. Once Christmas is over, his son will figure out some ingenious way to demolish the structure. “One year he made a catapult of boulders,” Cram said.

Who knows what this year’s implements of demolition might be? But whatever the means, the job must be done to clear the ground for Christmas 2016, and another edible edifice.






Just Posted

Living with obsessive compulsive disorder

The Big Read: Vancouver Island mom calls for more mental health services as son battles OCD

T.W. Paterson column: From ‘Old Dobbin’ to ‘King Gasoline’ — to bust

The late Jack Fleetwood loved to tell how he and his brother Doug bought six used cars — for $10!

Special weather statement forecasts hot weekend ahead on mid Island

Environment and Climate Change Canada advises residents in Nanaimo and Duncan to take precautions

Readers have plenty to say about Greyhound putting on the brakes

“It is a sad day for a once proud company”

Accused takes stand in trial for fatal crash in Yellow Point

Dustin Dennis Zinter represents self, testifies in B.C. Supreme Court in Nanaimo

REPLAY: B.C.’s best video this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Former NHL goalie Ray Emery drowns in Lake Ontario

Police say the 35-year-old’s death appears to be a ‘case of misadventure’

Air quality statement warns of smoky air for Kamloops area

Environment ministry says area on north side of Thompson River may be affected by wildfire smoke

Pussy Riot claims on-field protest at World Cup final

Russian protest group claimed responsibility after four people ran onto field in police uniforms

Fans party on Montreal streets after French World Cup win

To city is home to nearly 57,000 French nationals

B.C. VIEWS: Making private health care illegal again

Adrian Dix battles to maintain Cuba-style medical monopoly

Almost every part of Canada’s largest national park deteriorating: federal study

Drawing on decades of research — the report lists 50 pages of citations

Activists protest outside Kinder Morgan terminal in kayaks, canoes

Tsleil-Waututh elder Ta’ah Amy George led the water ceremony from a traditional Coast Salish canoe

Canadian soccer fans brace for World Cup final between France, Croatia

First ever final for the Croatians, while it’s France’s third, going into match as betting favourite

Most Read