A team of four pastry chefs, led by Patrick Binion, began working on the Caribe Royale gingerbread village back in June. "We started thinking about the concept and decided on a Thomas Kinkade 1950s, 1960s look," Binion explains, referring to an American painter known for replicating a certain ilk of Americana.
Florida's humidity can cause gingerbread to collapse if it's on display for too long, Binion says, so display houses need wood frames. By July the team was drawing up a map, then gathering the wood they'd need to construct that frame. Working late often, the passionate sweets staffers drew templates and began construction. Once the gingerbread was attached to the wood, the pastry chefs added awnings, details like icicles, and candy decorations to make the edifices "more three-dimensional."
By the time this year's Caribe Royale gingerbread village debuted the day before Thanksgiving, it had nine houses, the tallest 3 feet. "Last year we had only one house, but it was 9 feet," Binion says. It'll be on display through January 3.
I wonder what 2015 will bring.