Several Southern hotels have been added to the Historic Hotels of America’s list of the “Top 25 Most Magnificent Gingerbread Displays” in the country.
“Year after year, legendary hotels, resorts, and inns create magnificent gingerbread displays to delight and inspire guests. The 2022 Top 25 Historic Hotels of America Most Magnificent Gingerbread Displays are the result of thousands of hours of culinary, pastry, confectionary, engineering, and carpentry teams working for weeks and even months to design, create, mix, bake, build, set up, and, of course, decorate,” a media release on the list states.
The Southern hotels that made the list this year are:
Built one gingerbread brick at a time, the archway is made from 200 lbs of gingerbread, 100 lbs of royal icing, and 20 lbs of candy. The gingerbread arch completely encompasses the entryway to the Lobby Bar in the center of the Great Hall.
The gingerbread display is an edible interpretation of the hotel, from its slate-gray mansard roofs and distinct round windows to its striped blue and white awnings. Each year, Willard InterContinental’s annual gingerbread display pays tribute to an iconic landmark in or around the capital. The display will be open to the public through December.
The DeSoto’s chefs and kitchen team started preparing for the village in October, mixing and baking dough, and selecting candies. The DeSoto team member Jessica Binkley, who coordinated the project, ensured the hotel’s undecorated gingerbread houses made their way to a local school, where houses were assigned to participating classrooms. Once delivered, 313 students took part in decorating the exteriors of The DeSoto’s gingerbread houses. Along with frosting, the houses were decorated with hundreds of candy ribbons, red and green chocolate drops, gummy bears, gum drops, Nerds, chocolate kisses, peppermint swirls, and candy canes. The gingerbread houses were then transported back to the hotel in November and set up in the hotel’s main lobby. The holiday gingerbread display is made up of 18 individual houses arranged as a village.
The miniature is made from hundreds of pounds of gingerbread, thousands of colorful sweets, and 150 lbs of icing. The gingerbread village is a replica of the Grand Hotel Golf Resort & Spa resort grounds and is approximately 16 ft in length, 8 ft wide, and 1 ½ ft tall. The buildings in the display include the Pool Pavilion, South Bay House, North Bay House, Marina House, and Spa, complemented by replicas of 100-year-old oak trees and marshmallow snow people. A working toy train runs a circuit inside the village, chugging along through the oaks and resort buildings.
This year’s display is a frosty white and gold Victorian cottage, complete with golden floral designs and fluffy, icy snow. Production required eight members from the pastry team, to work on it for more than 120 hours. The Victorian gingerbread house is 12 ft tall and 11 ft wide. It is decorated with 288 lollipops, 20 lbs of rock candy, 36 lbs of gumballs, 750 gingerbread roof tiles, more than 1,000 sable bricks, 5 lbs of gold dust, and 25 lbs of M&M’s to decorate. Construction required more than 500 lbs of flour and 480 lbs of powdered sugar.
The hotel’s singular display is The Great Gingerbread House, which is modeled after the historic resort’s exterior and reaches from floor to ceiling in the hotel’s Great Hall. It consists of 400 lbs of powdered sugar, 64 lbs of egg whites, and 160 lbs of bread flour. The display is the result of a team of 15, including executive chefs and a carpentry expert, working a combined 500 scheduled hours over the course of 25 days.
This gingerbread village is a landscape of frosted seasonal activity, where visitors can see the village miniatures caroling, skiing, and choosing their holiday tree. Elves and chefs are hard at work within frosted gingerbread walls, and figurines skate on the gingerbread village ice rink. At least six pastry experts collectively worked more than 300 hours on the project. The village required 90 lbs of icing, 5 lbs of gum paste, 125 lbs of flour, 30 lbs of butter, 28 lbs of brown sugar, two cups of ginger, and four cups of cinnamon. It includes nine buildings, the tallest of which stands 17 inches.