Naughty or Nice
When Erin Cross took over as owner of The Dessert Plate in Somerville, one of her many decisions was whether to continue the well-known, years-old tradition of the annual naughty or nice gingerbread race.
Of course, the tradition would stay.
Initially created to get customers more involved during the holidays, the premise of the 16-year-old race is simple: Two types of gingerbread are created, and whichever sells the most wins.
“Nice” gingerbreads follow the bakery’s traditional gingerbread recipe. “Naughty” gingerbreads have black pepper, cayenne pepper and extra ginger added. Employees tally every gingerbread sold; the chart is kept on the back wall. “It’s a really fun way for us to interact with our regulars and get everyone in the holiday spirit,” Cross says.
As soon as the contest kicks offs, some regular customers are eager to buy gingerbread—early and often. “We’re located in the county seat, and we have a judge who comes in every morning and buys six naughty gingerbreads with the hopes that they’ll win.” To the judge’s dismay, the naughties have lost all of the previous years except one.
Cross believes that the added spice in the naughties makes people hesitant to buy them; though they are not overly spicy, they do stray from the traditional gingerbread flavor. Most people who work at the bakery are Team Naughty, mostly to make sure the spicy cookie always has a chance at victory.
This year, the contest runs from December 1 through December 31. “Christmas is the favorite time of year for so many people, so it’s such a fun tradition,” Cross says.
THE DESSERT PLATE
34 E Main St, Somerville