Leavenworth — It's the most magical time of the year. Especially if you're in the gingerbread biz.
"Well it's the time of year that we look forward to obviously, because I think we shine the best at Christmas," said Heidi Forchener, owner of The Gingerbread Factory.
From November through December, the bakers at this Leavenworth institution give Santa's elves a run for their...sprinkles.
Making thousands of gingerbread houses, and cookies by hand. Each one almost too pretty to eat. Almost.
"And it's fun to see what people eat first. The arms, the heads, the legs. Everybody has their little technique,” laughed Jeanetta Opstad, a baker at the Factory.
Forchener's family came from Germany. And so did the recipe that keeps this place thriving decade after decade. "It is a closely guarded secret, obviously a family secret, the business is celebrating its 30th anniversary right now, it's been kept for 30 years, so I'm not sure that we're going to be sharing it today," laughed Forchener.
Also, gingerbread is perfect for this business’s Leavenworth location: where you can see it in the town’s architecture, then eat it in this bakery.
"It fits very well with our Bavarian theme in town - gingerbread started out in Germany and it fits perfectly to the town," Forchener said.
The gingerbread gets shipped 'round the world from here. But nothing beats seeing, and smelling, these cookies in their natural habitat.
And though her recipe's a secret, there is one ingredient Heidi Forchener is willing to share.
“I do feel personally that gingerbread, and all kinds of food are a way to show love to people you care about,” said Forchener. “What better way to show love than with a warming cinnamon, clove and ginger cookie?”
The Gingerbread Factory takes orders until mid-December for holiday delivery.
The Gingerbread Factory | 829 Front St, Leavenworth, WA 98826 | (509) 548-6592