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Our blend of spices contains the highest-quality natural ingredients from all over the world, and no extracts or flavourings. In combination with exquisite honey, these spices are responsible for the exceptional aroma and flavour of our Lebkuchen, creating a balm for the soul.
Each spice is a culinary wonder in its own right, and together they pack a real vitality punch. Even after baking, the fantastic properties of the ancient spices still exert beneficial health effects.
Aniseed is native to Asia and the Mediterranean region. It has a bitter-sweet flavour and a distinctive aroma. We know that the ancient Egyptians were using aniseed as early as 1500 BC, and to this day it is one of the most important medicinal herbs used in alternative medicine.
It is the plant’s essential oil which is responsible for its health-giving properties. The aniseed fruit also contains protein, flavonoids, oil, a range of sugars, coumarins and vitamin C, which give it antispasmodic, expectorant and warming properties – the reason it is used to alleviate coughs, colds, indigestion and headaches.
In Lebkuchen,aniseed functions as a flavour carrier and produces a fresh taste and sweet, spicy notes. The taste of aniseed is somewhat similar to liquorice. It can be combined with other spices to create distinctive Christmassy aromas.
Christopher Columbus was the first European to encounter allspice in 1494. The best quality allspice still comes from Jamaica, Guatemala and Honduras. Its dominant flavours are clove, nutmeg, cinnamon and pepper, which explains the English name for the spice.
It is considered to be extremely healthy, with essential oils that are thought to have warming and pain-relieving properties, encourage good circulation and digestion and strengthen the entire immune system.
Allspice gives Lebkuchen its complex spicy taste, with different notes ranging from sweet cinnamon to a tangy piquancy. A pinch of this peppery spice is enough for its intensive flavours to come through.
Cardamom originates from India, Sri Lanka and Thailand. Along with vanilla and saffron, it is one of the most prized and costly spices in the world.
It has a sweet-piquant, highly exotic flavour with notes of eucalyptus, which is what gives cardamom its distinctive character.
The essential oil contained in the seed pods of the green cardamom plant is the secret of cardamom’s healing capabilities. It contains components of high nutritional value and is thought to have expectorant, antibacterial and mood-enhancing properties, and to stimulate the circulation and appetite.
Cardamom is used inLebkuchen to produce a tangy, mildly piquant flavour with hints of peppermint. It helps to create a wholesome Lebkuchen which is easier to digest.
Nutmeg is the seed of the fragrant nutmeg tree, which originates from the Banda Islands but now also grows in Asia, South America and Africa. It is the main export product of Grenada and features on the country’s flag.
The intensively aromatic seed and its essential oil have valuable properties. Ground nutmeg is credited with beneficial antibacterial, digestive and cardiotonic effects. Nutmeg’s essential oil is used as an alternative medicine to improve sleep and mood, as well as to treat winter depression.
In Lebkuchen,nutmeg is used very sparingly, as even relatively small amounts can result in a bitter taste. Its intensive flavour and gentle spiciness help to create a Lebkuchen which is easier to digest, and perfectly complement the characteristics of the other spices.
Ginger has been grown in Asia for thousands of years, and has a long history of use as a herbal remedy. Its active components are contained in this tropical plant’s root, which is believed to have warming, anti-inflammatory properties and counteract high blood fat and vascular disorders.
Ginger is composed of over 160 different substances including iron, a range of vitamins such as vitamin C and B6, calcium, potassium and sodium phosphate, as well as various essential oils. In traditional Ayurvedic medicine, ginger is used to treat migraines and nausea.
Ginger is one of the blend of spices we mix into our Lebkuchen and is also an extra ingredient in some of our special Lebkuchen varieties. The warming characteristics of ginger contrast exceptionally well with fruit fillings. Its exotic bitter spiciness is the perfect complement to lemon or peppermint fillings, and brings out an amazing fruity flavour when combined with rosehip.
At one time, vanilla was only grown in Mexico, creating a monopoly position which brought prosperity to the country. With time, other nations started to cultivate the plant, and today half of the world’s vanilla is produced in Madagascar and Réunion (formerly Île Bourbon).
Alongside saffron, vanilla is considered be a “queen of spices”, and it is the second-most expensive spice in the world. It is said to be extremely good for general health and have mood-enhancing and calming properties. This is why vanilla is often used as a fragrance in candles and toiletries.
Vanilla’s unique flavour is the result of a harmonious combination of around 200 separate substances. Vanilla has an unmistakable flowery, beautifully mellow and sweetly spicy taste.
In Lebkuchen, it is primarily used for its vanillin – the vanilla pod’s most prominent flavourant. Vanilla gives Pirker’s spice blend a sweet, irresistible character and plays a leading role in the explosion of flavours you experience when biting into one of our Lebkuchen.
Cinnamon is one of the oldest spices in the world and was being used as far back as 3000 BC. The best sort is Ceylon cinnamon, which is grown in Sri Lanka and has a light brown colour and slightly sweet taste.
In herbal medicine, cinnamon is considered as one of the most potent spices. It is used in the treatment of colds, coughs and flu on account of the strong antimicrobial and antibacterial properties of its essential oil. Cinnamon contains minerals including potassium, calcium, iron, zinc and magnesium as well as manganese and vitamin A. It is also said to affect the emotions, and this rediscovered wonder spice is credited with bringing about feelings of comfort, creativity and inner calm.
Cinnamon lendsLebkuchen its flowery notes and spicy-sweet taste. A key ingredient in festive biscuits and cakes, it is inextricably associated with the tastes and smells of Christmas.
Clove, which has been used since ancient times in India, was named the medicinal herb of the year in 2010. In ancient China, people would freshen their breath by slowly chewing cloves.
It is the essential oil which is responsible for the strong scent, intensive flavour and health benefits of cloves. Very high in antioxidants, they are used as an alternative medicine to strengthen the body’s immune system. The pain-killing properties of clove were scientifically proven in 2006, and it is commonly employed to treat toothache.
As an ingredient in Lebkuchen, cloves produce exotic-tasting intensive tangy-sweet and spicy flavours. A fine grind results in a fragrant aroma reminiscent of the scents of India.
The oldest mention of coriander, which originated in the Mediterranean region, dates back to 5000 BC. It is one of the world’s most ancient cooking spices and today is used most commonly as an ingredient in curry powder.
Coriander’s essential oils are said to stimulate the circulation and have antispasmodic properties. Hildegard of Bingen alluded to coriander’s digestive and antimicrobial effects, which can improve the appearance of skin. It also contains phytochemicals that are thought to perform a cleansing role in the body and promote the release of toxins.
Ground coriander seed is used as a spice Coriander has a lightly spicy flavour and mild bitterness, lending piquancy to our spice blend.
Honey is a true wonder of nature and contains over 200 different substances. It consists of enzymes, aromatics, flavourants, vitamins, trace elements, minerals, acids, essential oils and up to 22 different sugars including fructose and glucose, as well as antibiotic agents and proteins. It is this combination that makes honey such a unique, health-promoting natural product.
Honey gives Lebkuchen its golden colour and is a natural preservative. Its addition creates a honey-sweet, wholesome and incredibly tasty Lebkuchen, and helps to combine the ingredients without the need for additives or binding agents.
Find out what makes us tick and just how important bees are to our work.
Our success story goes back to 1846. Read all about it here.
Learn about the age-old traditional trade of the Lebkuchen, candle and mead maker.
Find out why 50% honey content makes our Lebkuchen 100% delicious
Slake your thirst for knowledge with information about our multi-award-winning distillery!