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Luxury hotels in North Carolina, Florida and the Caribbean share tips to create an edible holiday display worthy of #RCMemories

From North Carolina to Aruba, pastry teams are going above and beyond to create stunning gingerbread displays to welcome guests home for the holidays.

Ladies and Gentlemen at The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte spent three 24-hour days building their edible structure, complete with an electric train and a gathering of elves in a snow-covered garden. The glimmering structure, prepared with 700 pounds of gingerbread, sets the stage for a stunning family photo, and a mailbox coupled with festive stationery encourages children to write a letter to Santa. Guests may even build their very own mini replica of the house with do-it-yourself kits available at Bar Cocoa, the hotel’s delectable dessert boutique.

Chef Tip: Get creative with sweet decorations. Use rock candy to represent icicles or piece together edible flowers for a charming window garden.

For those traveling further South for the holiday, The Ritz-Carlton, Naples delights visitors with its life-size candy cottage. An incredible 1,200 gingerbread bricks and 60,000 candy details decorate the home, while a cozy living room with an inviting fire serves to remind guests of the importance of spending quality time with loved ones. 

 Chef Tip: The special ingredient is “tons of love.”

The candy details were the focus of the pastry team at The Ritz-Carlton, Coconut Grove, Miami. Although smaller than the houses at other properties, the Coconut Grove cottage is 99.9% edible, except for the wooden base on which the structure rests. Gum-paste reindeer pull a sleigh full of gingerbread cookies, while festively-clad elves bake holiday goodies in the kitchen. The intricate details – including the wooden floor and brick walls – were meticulously prepared with a stencil before the house was painted in cocoa butter.

Chef Tip: Think like an architect when preparing an edible home.  Ensure each structural piece is properly measured and baked to the correct thickness to support the weight of the delicious building.

Chefs at The Ritz-Carlton, Aruba took the gingerbread process a step further by recreating a renowned monument – the Alto Vista Chapel. Almost 200 pounds of icing and 2,500 gingerbread cookie pieces decorate the fragrant, holiday-themed structure. Complete with festive lighting, the delicious chapel fosters an environment of peace, contemplation, and holiday spirit. 

Chef Tip: Incorporate elements of a favorite place to make the gingerbread house meaningful and unique.