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German Town Recreated in Gingerbread

December 24, 2002

ROSTOCK, Germany (AP) _ The stepped gables of this east German city’s medieval center have been restored to Old World splendor this holiday season.

There’s even a draping of fresh snow _ only the flakes are sugar and the little buildings are gingerbread.

Sven Grumbach, the creator of Rostock’s sweet replica, hopes his creation of hundreds of cookie houses, covering more than 4,300 square feet, will set a record for the world’s largest gingerbread city.

Certainly the quantities of ingredients required to build the sugary community were impressive: 1,760 pounds of flour, 705 pounds of honey, 880 pounds of almonds and 175 pounds of raisins, as well as 2,400 eggs.

Researchers at the London-based Guinness Book of Records said they had not yet seen Grumbach’s application for a record, but the prospects looked good.

``We already have a record for the largest gingerbread house and are always interested in things that are on the one hand quantifiable and on the other, new and original,″ researcher Kate White said in a telephone interview.

Beyond the goal of a record, Grumbach, who runs a local strawberry farm and sweet shop, hopes to bring a bit of cheer to residents of this gritty city in the economically depressed east of Germany.

``Visitors get a thrill out of the sense of recognizing something familiar _ perhaps a street where they live, or a building which they know,″ he said.

Rostock, like so many other towns in Germany, was practically leveled by Allied bombs during World War II. Grumbach used pictures from a 16th century scroll that managed to survive the war as a guideline for his gingerbread city.

It will be March before Grumbach and his team learn whether they have achieved a Guinness record. By then, the gingerbread city most likely will be a thing of the past. Its individual buildings were auctioned off Sunday to raise money for a local children’s charity.

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