Ah, the holiday season. That time of year where shopping centre car parks get full, our pockets get empty and the days seem to run out. But among the craziness, we also get that subtle scent of ginger spice that makes everything nice. You might be baking it yourself to give to friends, make into a house or hang it from your tree. And you might notice it on the Hudsons menu – in cookie form (Tree? Reindeer?) and even in a refreshing frappe. Andy Hearnden, Hudsons Head of Food and Coffee is a big rap for ginger spice season. “We all look forward to this time of year to spice our menu up a little!” he says. “There are always a few more people around when it comes time to sample the menu.”
But did you ever wonder why this time of year is all about ginger, cinnamon, cloves and mace? Well, like most things, it comes from the meeting of two cultures. And it stretches back to the middle ages.
“There are always a few more people around when it comes time to sample the menu.”
Ginger root was first grown in China and used for its medicinal purposes.In the middle ages, it made its way along the Silk Road and found its way to western Europe where it was valued as a spice to cover the taste of not-so-fresh meat. Henry VIII was even thought to have tinkered with ginger as a treatment of the plague. So far, so ewww.
So that’s where the flavours came from, but why this time of year? Well, winter solstice feasts have been a tradition since before Christmas was a thing. It was a time to literally feast before the famine of winter, to eat meat that could then be frozen for the winter, and to drink the beverages that had been fermenting since spring. In the middle ages, these feasts became Christmas feasts, and the availability of spices like ginger, cinnamon and mace, lard and sweet fruits like dates made pastries popular. So gingerbread became a Christmas tradition.
As with many of our Christmas traditions, we have inherited a winter tradition at a time of year that is more likely to be baking. To Andy Hearnden, adapting the tradition to Aussie conditions is key. “This year we’re really thrilled to have the Ginger Spiced Frappe and Ginger Spiced Latte Frappe on the menu to add a summer vibe to the season. So often Christmas traditions don’t translate to the southern summer, but this one works beautifully!”
So pop by and sample our Ginger Spice range. It’s tradition after all.