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Life-size gingerbread house rises on the Las Vegas Strip

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November 25, 2019 By Janna Karel

Call it a Christmas miracle.

The peppermint-tiled, gum drop-topped, sugar bear-laden gingerbread house that children dream of living inside — exists. And at 15 feet tall, it’s one of the sweetest lodgings on the Las Vegas Strip.

The team at the Patisserie at Aria has been working as hard as elves for two weeks to construct the whimsical structure, bake over 600 pounds of gingerbread, bring 5-foot-tall gingerbread people to life and create molds for 30 giant sugar bears.

The idea for a larger-than-life holiday treat came from President and COO of Aria and Vdara Steve Zanella and Executive Director of Special Events at Aria Stefanie Ishii.

“Steve and Stefanie asked Food & Beverage if we could do it and we said yep,” says Jake Broadbent, assistant executive pastry chef.

Initially, the team at the patisserie played with the idea of using a greenhouse as the main structure and plating it with gingerbread.

“We started with sheds and greenhouses, but wanted something to really wow,” Broadbent says. “We drew up some sketches and the idea was a fairy house with a wonky shape.”

Broadbent decided they needed to build something from scratch.

“We went there and then we went big with it,” he says.

In-house carpenters at Aria built an asymmetrical fairy house structure that connected like puzzle pieces.

Just after midnight Wednesday, they disassembled the wooden structure, transported it to the resort’s lobby, and put it together again.

Around 3 a.m., Broadbent and other staff members from the patisserie stepped in to tile the roof with peppermint candy disks and cover the walls with gingerbread bricks and royal icing grout.

They stacked the sugar bears with marshmallows and candy canes at the corners, placed three custom-designed cakes in the house’s window, topped the roof with pastel-colored meringue drops and sculpted a cotton candy cloud to billow out of the chimney. At 1:30 p.m., they took a break.

At midnight Thursday, the team reconvened to stagger graham cracker squares around the house’s doorway, trim the windows with candy and spray the whole thing down with luster dust, an edible shimmer spray.

By 11 a.m. Monday, the house will be flanked by presents made of candy, have treats inside the windows next to the front door and feature a retail pop-up at the rear where visitors can purchase apple cider, hot chocolate and treats.


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