If the house Hansel and Gretel wandered upon looked anything like the Gingerbread Village on display at Sheraton Princess Kaiulani, I can see why the hapless siblings couldn’t help themselves to some nibbling. Ever since I discovered this holiday gem splayed out in the lobby, it’s become a tradition to visit and see the latest additions. Each year P.K. executive chef Ralf Bauer adds new structures to his snowy wonderland. The annual edible re-creations include Hawaii landmarks including Kawaiahao Church and Mission Houses, Moana Surfrider, Iolani Palace and Aloha Tower. The German chef’s global tributes include a miniature German village with a castle and a scene from the Swiss Alps, and this year he’s added the Eiffel Tower, the Tower Bridge from London and a Japanese pagoda.
Here’s the impressive part: The entire village is made fresh every year out of gingerbread, chocolate and icing. For such an elaborate endeavor, that means getting started on the project in the summer. An informational pamphlet from the hotel spelled out the details of the massive undertaking:
“This year, chef Bauer, pantry chef Amie Tungpalan, executive sous chef John Hightower and the hotel’s engineering department spent more than 800 hours designing, constructing and setting up the final art piece. The gingerbread village, which stands more than 14.5 feet high and more than 24 feet wide, was constructed with 250 gallons of icing, 150 pounds of dark chocolate, 50 pounds of white chocolate and 90 sheets of gingerbread.”
The result is a charming, intricately decorated winter village with pine trees, a frozen pond with ice skaters, a moving ski lift, an ice-blue river, warm lights emanating from inside the various houses, glowing street lamps, train tracks and a train, a medieval church, bell tower, Ferris wheel, carousel and so much more. It’s a delightful December setting, transporting us sun-drenched Hawaii folks to a true white Christmas around the world. The piece is themed, “Hawaii and the World, a Global Holiday Celebration.” To think it may have all gotten its start from a touch of homesickness: Bauer first began his gingerbread fantasy spread with a portrayal of holiday scenery in a quaint mountainside village in his native Germany.
the TICKET stub
SANTA’S GINGERBREAD VILLAGE
When: Through Jan. 2
Where: Sheraton Princess Kaiulani (120 Kaiulani Ave.)
More Info: 922-5811, princess-kaiulani.com