She makes some of Bergen’s most famous buildings from gingerbread dough

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Ane has already won the Gingerbread Town’s “golden rolling pin” twice for her constructions.

At Ane Tunestveit Skår’s home, there are gingerbread on all tables, already in October. Now she is in the rush of the construction process of recreating the Seamen’s Monument in edible form. Photo: Adrian B. Søgnen

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The smell of fried gingerbread fills the apartment of Ane Tunestveit Skår in Åsane.

On the kitchen table are 78 cake pieces carefully carved.

Soon the pieces will be put together and become the old Kavli factory at Damsgård. She has already spent twelve hours building it, but the dough turned out to be too soft.

Then she must try again. You have to be that serious, says the gingerbread master.

She is neither an architect nor an engineer, but has already won the Gingerbread Town’s “golden rolling pin” twice for her constructions in gingerbread dough.

In 2019, she won an award for a gingerbread version of St. John’s Church.

In 2019, Ane Tunestveit Skår won an award for this copy of Johanneskirken. Photo: Private

Now she is going for a third golden roll with an ambitious project: the Seamen’s Monument on Torgallmenningen.

It is scheduled to be exhibited in the Gingerbread Town in Sentralbadet from 14 November.

One of the coolest things is to be able to use your creativity for something fun, Ane thinks. Here she carves out one of twelve men who will stand around the Seamen’s Monument. Photo: Adrian B. Søgnen

Has completely taken off

The interest in constructions in gingerbread dough started with a family that Ane describes as “above average concerned with traditions”.

– My family is completely hooked on traditions. Mom does not even like Halloween, but still has the house full of decorations now, she laughs.

Together with her parents, she has built a gingerbread house since she was little. But in recent years it has completely taken off, and now Ane makes large and complicated gingerbread buildings in a small kitchen in the apartment in Åsane, which she shares with the dog «Diesel».

Afraid of getting too eager

Christmas is definitely one of the highlights of the year for Ane, and she already has Christmas soda in the fridge.

Her friends have announced that she will have to wait to bring out the Christmas decorations until the last weekend in November at the earliest.

– I have to take care so I do not get too eager, she says.

What do your friends think about you spending so much time on gingerbread houses?

– They think it’s fun, but they probably think it’s a little weird, Skår admits and laughs.

Click on the right side of the image below to see more images.

Ane is twice the winner of the Gingerbread City Award. Photo: Adrian B. Søgnen

Has learned some tricks

When she now begins to recreate the Seamen’s Monument, she has already done some preparatory work. Among other things, she has traveled for an inspection, taken a dozen photos and drawn down details that can be recreated with gingerbread dough.

– I look at the dimensions, the colors and how recognizable I can make it. It is not possible to make an identical house, but you can find the details that are special to the building, she says.

Gingerbread dough is by no means a stable material, and it requires a lot of knowledge to make it last, says the award-winning house builder.

She has learned some tricks, such as letting the dough bake a little too long and hollowing it out with a fork to prevent it from rising. Sometimes it still goes awry, Skår admits.

One thing she stays away from

– I built a three-storey house a few years ago and was very pleased with the result. When we were to see the house in Gingerbread Town, it had collapsed, says the teacher student who really wanted to become an architect when she was little.

– Then I decided that I had to do better next year. I’m not kidding with gingerbread houses, they are small works of art, she says.

One thing she stays away from, and recommends everyone to do the same:

– I do not believe in superglue, I think that is cheating. Even though I do not want to eat my house, it should be edible, she says.

– Superglue is cheating, says Ane, who insists that all materials must be edible. Photo: Adrian B. Søgnen

The gingerbread version of the Seamen’s Monument is one of three gingerbread houses Ane makes for Gingerbread Town. What takes the most time is the planning, she says. Photo: Private

Opens November 14

The gingerbread town in Bergen is the world’s largest gingerbread town, and has been held every year since 1991.

This year’s gingerbread town will be put together in the premises of Sentralbadet and opens on 14 November.

When the houses are finally located in the Gingerbread Town, Ane becomes proud and happy.

– These are small works of art people have made. It is a bit of a silly project, but there are so many people who care, she says.

And if there is a danger that this year’s gingerbread town will not be the world’s largest?

– Then it is not inconceivable that I build ten more houses, says Ane.

The old Kavli factory in Damsgårdsveien at Gyldenpris was taken over by Kavli in 1933. Now it will be exhibited in Gingerbread Town. Photo: Adrian B. Søgnen

Have you seen this house somewhere in Bergen? It is one of the new apartment buildings on Damsgård. Photo: Adrian B. Søgnen

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