Once a simple holiday
decoration, the tiny tradition of building gingerbread houses has been
supersized at locations across the US.
At the Fairmont San Francisco in California, pastry chefs spent
more than 600 hours baking more than 7,500 gingerbread bricks to create a two-storey,
500sqft gingerbread house in the hotel’s lobby. To complete the cheerful
display, chefs also added about 2,000lb of hard-drying icing and colourful
candy. On display through 1 January, the house contains an interior nook where
children can write a letter to Santa.
For a chance
to dine inside a gingerbread house Hansel and Gretel style, the River City Casino and the Lumiere Place Casino and Hotel in St Louis, Missouri have both
built 140sqft gingerbread houses in their restaurants. Each house, one at each
casino, seats four guests and can be reserved for a $20 fee, which goes to
benefit the Center for Hearing and Speech. Once inside, guests are served a
three-course $25 prix-fixe menu, which does not include the chance to nibble on
the walls for dessert. (It includes eggnog flan instead.) Reservations end 26
The Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota also has a
life-sized gingerbread house, though it’s not made of real gingerbread. The
house in the mall’s rotunda will feature free design demonstrations, autograph
sessions by HGTV network stars and daily holiday light shows at 1pm, 5pm and
8pm through 1 January.