Pardubický perník (Pardubice biscuit)
CZO Pardubický perník is a biscuit produced from wheat flour, sugar, egg, honey, jam, vegetable fats, cocoa, gingerbread spice mixture (cinnamon, coriander, cloves, aniseed and allspice) and raising agents. ‘Pardubický perník’ is made in two variants:
a) as a filled product in which a filling is sandwiched between two identical pieces of gingerbread, or, in some cases, in which a filling is placed in a single piece of gingerbread. The products are always coated with a fat-based or sugar glaze or in chocolate. The product is packaged.
b) as gingerbread figures produced by cutting out or pressing out various traditional two-dimensional shapes (hearts, boys or girls in traditional costumes, horses, horse riders, bells, Christmas trees, motor cars, locomotives, stars, various animals, baskets, characters from folk-tales, four-leaved clovers, horse-shoes, Easter eggs, cribs and Christmas themes), or making three-dimensional forms (chalets, boxes, cradles, sledges, coaches and carriages, with or without horses, books, various animals, slippers, baskets, cribs and Christmas trees), from gingerbread dough.
The geographical area within which ‘Pardubický perník’ is produced is limited to the cad astral district of the city of Pardubice and that of the municipality of Spojil.
Method of production:
‘Pardubický perník’ is a bakery product, the production method of which has changed little over a period of three centuries. It is produced in two stages, separated by a gap of a few days. The first stage consists of making the basic dough, which is then left to rest for a few days before being processed. The second stage begins by mixing into the dough the egg contents, jam, spices and raising agent until an elastic mass is produced which is then rolled out into a sheet which is further processed as follows:
— in the case of the filled gingerbread products, identical pieces of dough are cut or pressed out, baked in an oven, filled and coated with a glaze or in chocolate, and packaged in foil bearing the requisite information about the product, or
— in the case of the shaped gingerbread products, pieces of dough are cut or pressed out into the relevant shape or are used to form a three-dimensional structure.
They are baked in an oven, left to cool down and then coated with a glaze or in chocolate, or left uncoated. The resulting products are then decorated by hand using sugar, fat or chocolate, before being packaged in a packet bearing information on the product. The entire production process, including packaging, takes place at production facilities within the defined area. Packaging directly on the producer's premises is necessary as a consequence of the nature of the product: the quality of unpackaged finished products might be impaired during transport as a result of damage to coatings and decorations and is also a legal requirement, as the law specifies that rusks and biscuits and preserved pastry goods and cakes must be packaged on the manufacturer's premises.
The history of gingerbread making in Pardubice can be traced back to the 16th century, and the right to produce this product there was upheld by the Empress Maria-Theresia in 1759. Production took off in the 20th century, when industrial production was introduced, alongside the traditional artisanal methods. The exceptional reputation enjoyed by ‘Pardubický perník’ today in the eyes of the public is evidenced by newspaper articles (in Noviny Pernštejn, Blesk etc) and by photographs taken during the visit by Vaclav Havel, the then President of the Czech Republic, to the factory of Goldfein CZ. It is therefore clear that Pardubice has long been a place where specialised craftspeople have trained and worked, acquiring total mastery of the art of making gingerbread and that their intellectual property has been handed down to their successors. The typical designs used to decorate ‘Pardubický perník’ are also part of this craft. These styles and the method of decoration are not taught anywhere and are passed on only through practical experience of making the product.
Reference: The European Commission