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Road Trips — By Apryl Chapman Thomas on December 15, 2009 at 4:27 pm

12 Days of Christmas: Sweet Southern Gingerbread Houses

What do you get when you combine the following ingredients: – 1,200 pounds of flour – 900 pounds of sugarS.S. Amelia 2009 009 – 3,000 eggs – 435 egg white – 300 pounds of shortening – 15 gallons of milk – 14 pounds of special holidays spices and 300 hours of labor? A 17-foot wide, 12-foot high pirate ship known as the S.S. Ginger Amelia. Currently docked at The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island (Fla., map) until December 28, the creation was a perfect choice to represent a destination that had once been ruled under eight different flags. “S.S. Amelia 2009 012A few years ago, we began to focus on themeography,” says executive pastry chef, Sheldon Millet. “We wanted to have a structure that’s related to the area’s history.” Working with carpenters, they searched online for a design. While the base would be constructed out of wood, it (the design) would also need to be able to work with gingerbread as well. Once the design was agreed upon, it was time to get to work. Of course, tackling something this large had its challenges along the way. Millet points out that one challenge was making sure there S.S. Amelia 2009 007was enough people for baking the gingerbread. With rotating nine in the kitchen, the gingerbread was completed in 100 hours and the decoration was done within two days. Another small challenge was the bow of the boat. Not only did they need to make sure they had enough panels, but also make sure the gingerbread would bend. With everything working out in the end, the S.S. Ginger Amelia features such details as a gingerbread cannon with chocolate cannon balls, a gingerbread pirate and a treasure chest filled with candies. Located in the lobby of the property, complimentary tours of the structure are given through December 28. Other Gingerbread Houses in the South: From the National Gingerbread Competition and Display at Grove Park Inn (Asheville, N.C., map) to Disney’s Grand Floridian’s grand gingerbread house, there are many places around the South to view these sweet symbols of the holidays.

  • Using 5,000-square feet of gingerbread, the house at Gaylord Texan’s (Grapevine, map) Lone Star Christmas is anything but small. The decoration is part of the overall holiday experience at the property.
  • Check out the life-sized gingerbread that you can walk-thru at Ritz-Carlton New Orleans (map).
  • At Renaissance Ross Bridge Resort & Spa (Birmingham, Ala., map), six professional bakeries have created gingerbread homes reflective of The Polar Express.
  • The Peabody Memphis (map) has a giant gingerbread house (along with other holiday goodies) in their lobby.
  • At The Ritz Carlton, Charlotte (N.C., map), the LEED-built hotel has constructed an eco-friendly, all organic gingerbread house. Located in the lobby, the 10-by-14 structure includes LED lights and a green vegetated moss roof.

photo credit: All photos of the S.S. Ginger Amelia are courtesy of The Ritz Carlton, Amelia Island, Fla.

7 places are mentioned in this post!
  1. The Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans is located in the French Quarter on
  2. Retreat to the beautiful rolling hills of a Birmingham, AL hotel secluded
Click on the place name to learn more


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