9th Annual Gingerbread House at One Ocean Resort

If the line of giddy children does not give it away, the overwhelming aroma of chocolate, cinnamon and sugar will clue you into something unusual at One Ocean Resort. On November 30, the resort unveiled its 9th Annual Gingerbread House, featuring more than 1,000 candy bars and 1,000 pounds of sugar. “Mrs. Claus's Pastry Shop” spans nearly twelve feet wide and ten feet tall near the hotel’s reception area, with each brick fitted together by a layer of fondant and adorned with jelly beans, Kit-Kats and Hershey bars.

“Each gingerbread brick takes about 45 minutes to make,” says lead pastry chef James Victorino. “With hundreds of ginger-bricks, we lost count of baking hours after hitting one hundred.” Walking the aisles of a home improvement store last June, Victorino was inspired by a bright red door, building materials and the surrounding brick layout. Rather than clay and mortar, he thought it more appropriate for an edible Mrs. Claus to be housed in flour and frosting. It was not much later before the team of three had a plan starting to take shape.

After engineering and construction built a foundation, the pastry team worked tirelessly for three weeks between wedding, anniversary and other special event duties. Baking came naturally to the team, but keeping this secret wasn't easy. “We did all of this behind the curtain so no one could see it until the unveiling,” recalls Victorino. “Keeping people from taking a sneak peek was a challenge in itself.” The house will be on display until January 1, and One Ocean asks that guests to please try to keep themselves from taking a bite until that date.