Gingerbread baking winners named

Both home bakers and professionals earned kudos for their expertise and imagination in Norway House’s second Gingerbread Wonderland contest, which is open for viewing through Jan. 8 at 913 E. Franklin Av. in Minneapolis. Bakers won in a variety of categories. Drum roll!

Best by a professional baker: Mill City Museum by Sweet Retreat in Edina

Best by an amateur baker: Cathedral by Colette Bartkowski of Edina

Best representing Minneapolis: Minneapolis City Hall by Heather Vick of Minneapolis

Best representing St. Paul: State Capitol by Honey & Rye Bakehouse in St. Louis Park

Best representing the suburbs: Log Cabin by Nancy Olson of Maple Grove

Best whimsically designed creation: Janice and Katy Svaren of Apple Valley

Best use of materials: Susan Droegemueller of Wayzata

Best classically designed gingerbread house: Sarah Bartkowski of Edina

Best made by a child under age 12: Beatrice Holterhaus of St. Paul

People’s Choice Award for best overall gingerbread creation: Cathedral by Colette Bartkowski of Edina

Winners were selected by Twin Cities food experts Kim Ode of the Star Tribune Taste section, Nancy Ngo of the Pioneer Press Eat section and Sue Zelickson, founder of the Charlie Awards.

The gingerbread creations may be viewed during Norway House hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays; 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. New Year’s Eve. Closed Mondays, and New Year’s Day. No charge for children under 13; $5 for adults. For more information, visit

The trends never end

This is the season of trend lists, and Whole Foods is right out front with its predictions.

Rethinking Pasta: Look for alternative grain noodles made from quinoa, lentils and chickpeas, and grain-free options like spiralized veggies and kelp noodles.

Purple Power: How about purple cauliflower, black rice, purple asparagus, elderberries, acai, purple sweet potatoes, purple corn and cereal? Purple often indicates nutrient density and antioxidants.

Creative Condiments: Look for black sesame tahini, habañero jam, ghee, pomegranate molasses, black garlic purée, date syrup, plum jam with chia seeds, beet salsa, Mexican hot chocolate spreads, sambal oelek or piri piri sauce.

Japanese Food, Beyond Sushi: Mainstay condiments such as ponzu, miso, mirin, sesame oil and plum vinegar make their way from restaurants to homes. Seaweed is a rising star with fresh and dried kelp, wakame, dulse and nori.

Flexitarian: Consumers will mix it up instead of strictly keeping to one diet, such as eating vegan before 6 p.m., or eating paleo five days a week, or gluten-free whenever.

• Mindful Meal Prep: Trends to watch include the “make some/buy some” that uses precooked ingredients from the hot bar to jump-start dinner, or preparing a main dish from scratch and using frozen or store-bought ingredients as sides.

Coconut Everything: Not just coconut oil and coconut water, but coconut flour tortillas, coconut sugar aminos and more unexpected coconut-based products are on the rise.

Save the pig, er, date

The popular national nose-to-tail pig cooking tour, Cochon555, returns to Minneapolis on Feb. 19, bringing its mix of culinary community and education to Loews Minneapolis. Old hands know it brings together bartenders, distillers, chefs and barkeeps for whole-hog cookery and beverages to wash it down. Newbies may be agog at the talent on display. A portion of all proceeds goes to Cochon555’s sister charity, Piggy Bank. For tickets, visit