Dec. 24, 2009— -- Nothing conveys the Christmas spirit quite like gingerbread houses, especially the best gingerbread houses in the United States. "Good Morning America" invited some of the winners of the National Gingerbread House Competition to stop by Times Square with their entirely edible works of art.
Ginger spice came to Europe in the 11th century from Asia and the Middle East. As the price came down, more cooks began to use ginger and gingerbread became a popular treat.
The first gingerbread figures were primarily made to represent kings, leaders, animals and religious symbols, until the Brothers Grimm fairy tale "Hansel and Gretel" introduced the idea of an edible candy house.
Nuremberg, Germany, is known as "the gingerbread capital of the world" but Asheville, N.C., might be a close second.
At the 17th annual National Gingerbread House Competition at Asheville's Grove Park Inn and Spa, entries ranged from castles to cathedrals and included representations of the North Pole, the Grand Canal in Venice, toy trains and even the movie "Star Wars."
Some of the winning entries in this year's competition included: