Did You Know? 5 Sweet Fairy Tales about Food

Oct 1, 2021 | Just for Fun | 1 comment

It’s our 29th anniversary, and we’re celebrating with a special peek into our namesakeFairytale Brownies. 

Some might know about the folklore creature called a “brownie,” which is a friendly household spirit that performs good deeds while the nearby humans sleep.

It’s where we got the inspiration for our logoand, of course, a fun play on the irresistible gourmet treats we sell.

But the layers to our company name can go deeper than that!

Fairytale brownie Elf

Folklore, Fairy Tales, and Food

Food and storytelling are a pairing meant to be, and have been for as long as people have been sharing stories. It’s an essential part of human life, after all. 

From Aesop’s Fables of Ancient Greece to traditional folklore around the world, food pops up a lot. 

And since many fairy tales have roots in folklore, that theme of “food” carries over in the fairy tales written and collected by well-known authors like Hans Christian Andersen and the Brothers Grimm.

You’ll recognize many fairy tales about food!

Snow White bites a poisoned apple, Cinderella’s carriage is transformed from a pumpkin, and Little Red Riding Hood brings food to her grandmotherbefore becoming a meal herself! Jack exchanges a cow for magical beans in Jack and the Beanstalk. The Princess and the Pea can’t sleep because she feels a pea wedged beneath her mattress.

And that’s just to name a few. 

In fact, we could go on for days about all the folklore and fairy tales from around the world that have food as a central element.

Instead, we’ll dive into just a few of the sweetest onesthe stories about candy, treats, and dessert!

Fairy Tale Desserts

Hansel and Gretel

When you think “fairy tales about food,” the German tale of Hansel and Gretel might be the first thing to pop in your mind!

In the version popularized by the Brothers Grimm in 1812, a great famine sweeps over the land. Food is scarce, so Hansel and Gretel’s parents abandon them in the woods to fend for themselves.

After days of wandering, the hungry children find a cottage built of gingerbread, chocolate, candies, and other sweets. When they start to gorge themselves on sweets, the old woman who lives inside invites Hansel and Gretel in.

Little do they know, the woman is a witch who plans to eat them. Luckily, the clever children manage to trick the witch. Gretel shoves the witch into her own oven! The children take the witch’s jewels and clothing and return home to live happily ever after.

Eating a ginerbread house

The Gingerbread Boy

Another popular fairy tale about food is “The Gingerbread Boy,” first published in a magazine in 1875.

In the original, the tale begins when an old woman bakes a gingerbread boy, only to be caught by surprise when the cookie leaps from her oven and runs away! The woman and her husband run after him, but the gingerbread boy is too fast.

Throughout the story, the gingerbread boy outruns farmers and farm animals, taunting them all the while and bragging about how fast he is. But in the end, a fox is faster and manages to catch and eat the fleet-footed cookie.

In other versions of the story, the fox tricks the gingerbread boy rather than outpaces him. When a river blocks the gingerbread boy’s escape route, a fox offers to ferry him across. This, of course, leaves the gingerbread boy vulnerable to the fox’s hungry jaws.

And who could blame the fox? We’re craving some tasty cinnamon cookies, too.

Gingerbread and Snickerdoodle cookies


Momotarō, or “Peach Boy,” is a well-known folk hero in Japan. The tale’s exact age is hard to pinpoint, but it could have been told orally as early as the 1400s.

In the conventional form of the tale, an old, childless couple finds a giant peach floating down the river. When they open the peach to eat it, they find a child inside! They name him Momotarō and raise him as their son.

When Momotarō grows up, he leaves home to fight the demons that terrorize the land. During his journey, Momotarō befriends a dog, a monkey, and a pheasant, who help him in exchange for food. In the end, the hero and his friends defeat the demons, plunder their treasure, and bring the demon chief home as a captive.

In the most common version of the story, he gives his animal friends kibi dango, which is a sweet dessert dumpling made from millet flour, sticky rice flour, and sugar.

Japanese dessert kibi dango

The Nutcracker and the Mouse King

Today, this fairy tale about food is better known for its ballet retelling, The Nutcracker, but it was originally a story written by a Prussian author in 1816.

In the original, three children are given toys for Christmas. The youngest, Marie, takes a special liking to a toy nutcracker. That night, Marie is alone with the nutcracker when the clock strikes midnight. Mice swarm the room, the toys come to life, and war breaks out between the toys and the mice.

When the nutcracker is in danger, Marie saves him by throwing her slipper at the Mouse King. Later, she saves the nutcracker again by giving the Mouse King sweets and dolls in exchange for the nutcracker’s safety.

In the end, Marie gives the nutcracker a toy sword so he can finally defeat the Mouse King. To thank Marie, the nutcracker takes her to the wondrous doll kingdom.

The Nutcracker ballet’s plot is similar.

It contains a lot more sweets, though! After the little girl saves the nutcracker from the Mouse King, he transforms into the Nutcracker Prince. Instead of the doll kingdom, the prince takes her to the Land of Sweets, where they enjoy treats from all around the world, including chocolate, candy canes, and more.

Maybe she got to enjoy some Candy Cane Crunch brownies, too!

Nutcracker and Candy Cane Crunch Sprites

Sweet Porridge 

Sometimes known as “The Magic Porridge Pot,” this is another food-focused fairy tale collected by the Brothers Grimm in the 19th century.

We might not normally think of porridge as a sweet treat, but it can be! Across the world, porridge has been mixed with sugar, fruit, and syrups. Some countries enjoy traditional recipes for dessert porridges flavored with chocolate or cinnamon.

In the tale, a little girl and her mother have run out of food. The little girl wanders into the forest and encounters an old woman, who presents her with a magical little pot. When given the magical phrase, the little pot will cook sweet millet porridge. With another phrase, it will stop cooking.

The little girl takes the pot home so she and her mom can fill their bellies. But when the little girl goes out one day, her mom sets the pot to cook and forgets the phrase to turn it off. The pot cooks and cooks until porridge fills the house, the street, and the entire town!

Luckily, the little girl returns to turn off the pot. But since the streets are full of porridge, the people have to eat to get around.


What’s Your Favorite Fairy Tale About Food?

This is just a small sampling of countless fairy tales about food that exist around the world. We hope you learned a thing or two! As a reward for expanding your literary horizons, go ahead and treat yourself to something sweet. You deserve it!

Do you have a favorite story, folklore, or fairy tale about food? Or even better, one about some kind of sweet treat? Share it with us in the comments!

Fairytale Treats for Fairy Tale Cravings

Did these fairy tales get your mouth watering?

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1 Comment

  1. David Happe

    One day, long ago, I picked up a book and —

    Once upon a time, there was a prince who was the only child of the king and queen. The prince was very spoiled. The king and queen would give him anything he asked for. One day, the prince decided that he wanted to eat the most delicious food in the whole world.

    The king and queen asked the royal chefs to prepare their best dishes with the finest ingredients. The prince tasted them all and each time he said, “This is very, very good, but I don’t think it is the most delicious food in the whole world.”

    The king and queen invited chefs from across the land to come to the palace and try to make the most delicious food in the whole world. Many tried and each time the prince tasted what they prepared, he said, “This is very, very good, but I don’t think it is the most delicious food in the whole world.”

    The king and queen invited chefs from neighboring countries and sent messengers to gather exotic spices. Again and again the prince would say, “This is very, very good, but I don’t think it is the most delicious food in the whole world.”

    The prince decided that he would go looking for the most delicious food in the whole world himself. So he wouldn’t be recognized, the prince dressed in the way that the people who lived in the city and the villages dressed. He walked about asking people if they knew where he could find the most delicious food in the world. None did.

    One afternoon, he stopped to rest under the shade of a tree. He leaned up against a garden fence and said to the girl who was working there, “I don’t suppose that you know where to find the most delicious food in the whole world.”

    “Yes, I do,” she said. “And I will be having that for my supper. Would you like to eat with my family?”

    Oh, yes I would,” said the prince.

    “There is work to do before supper. Can you help?”

    The prince was happy to help if it meant that he could eat the most delicious food in the whole world.

    The girl’s job that afternoon was raking through the garden soil. When she hit a stone with the rake, she would dig it up and carry it to a rock pile in the corner of the garden. She gave the prince a rake to use and he went to work.

    After two hours, the girl told the prince that she needed to go into the house and get supper in the oven. In a little while she returned and continued to work with the prince. After more work, the girl’s parents called them in to clean up and eat.

    The girl gave the prince a plate with a round loaf of bread on it. It was a plain, brown bread, the kind that the prince had seen being sold in the markets. It didn’t seem that this bread would be the most delicious food in the world. But the bread smelled so good and when he tasted it, it really was the most delicious thing he had ever eaten.

    The prince ate his fill, thanked the girl and her family and rushed back to the palace to tell his parents what he had found. He asked his parents if the girl could be invited to the palace to bake her bread so that everyone there could taste the most delicious food in the whole world.

    The next day a messenger went to the girl’s home and told the family that their dinner guest had been the prince. The messenger carried an invitation to the palace for the girl from the king and queen. The girl asked her parents if she could go and they gave their permission. A day later, a carriage arrived to take the girl to the palace along with all the things she needed to bake her bread.

    The girl was led to the kitchen and she worked hard to make many loaves of bread. When the bread was ready, the girl was taken to a large room where the prince and the king and queen and many guests were waiting. Chefs gave bread to all the people. The prince asked them to taste the bread and to tell what they thought. The king spoke first.

    “This is very, very good, but I don’t think it is the most delicious food in the whole world.”

    The prince took a bite of bread and it did not taste the same as he remembered. He asked, “Is this the same bread you made for me?”


    “And it was the most delicious food in the whole world?”


    “Did you have the most delicious food in the whole world for dinner last night?”

    “Yes, my mother’s vegetable soup.”

    “And tonight, will you eat the most delicious food in the whole world?”

    “Yes, my father’s porridge.”

    The girl’s answers worried the king. He said, “This girl must have some kind of magic. She can turn any food into the most delicious food in the whole world.”

    The king asked the guards to take the girl to another room and watch her while they talked about what they should do. As she was guided to the door, the girl said, “But, but, but, …”

    And then, the girl said, “STOP!!” and the startled guards stopped. She turned towards the people and said,

    “The most delicious food in the whole world is not my bread or my mother’s soup or my father’s porridge. The most delicious food in the whole world is a meal earned by a hard day’s work.”

    And all … the people … felt … very … foolish.

    The queen said, “Let her return.” The king said he was sorry many times. The prince said he was sorry, too, and asked if he could come to supper again.

    “Yes,” said the girl. “Come early. There will be work to do.”

    All errors, omissions and embellishments are mine.

    Do you know where this story came from or who the author might be?


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