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Perfection in Confection: Holiday Gingerbread at The Inn on Biltmore Estate

Posted on 12/06/2018 by Jean Sexton

To celebrate Christmas at Biltmore, we deck the halls of America’s Largest Home®, place thousands of twinkling lights in Antler Hill Village, and turn the ceiling of our Winery into a dazzling burst of ornamental bubbles that resemble a glass of sparkling wine.

And then there’s the gingerbread.

Holiday tradition

Each year, The Inn on Biltmore Estate™ constructs a spectacular scene out of gingerbread, carefully crafting all the delicious details with a sampler of sweets including frosting, candies, cookies, and more.

Decorating gingerbread at The Inn on Biltmore EstateLeilani Padilla with The Inn's pastry team adds "snow" to branches

This year’s building project is a replica of the Lodge Gate—one of the first historic buildings you’ll see when you arrive at Biltmore

Serving as the estate’s main entrance, the impressive structure was designed by Richard Morris Hunt, the same architect who designed Biltmore House. It features a wide two-story arch that guests have been driving through for more than a century.  

Biltmore's iconic Lodge Gate with Christmas decorationsBiltmore's iconic Lodge Gate, decorated for the holidays

Historic inspiration

“It’s a challenge to replicate the look of original estate architecture,” said The Inn’s Pastry Chef Dana McFarland, “but we loved creating something so special for our guests to enjoy during their stay with us.”

Under construction

For 2018, Chef McFarland and her team set their sights on the Lodge Gate. From the steep tiled roof and distinctive brick and stucco exterior to the iconic arch, this glorious gingerbread creation was a labor of love that tested their engineering abilities.

Decorating gingerbread at The Inn on Biltmore EstateDemi chef Megan Shreve adds details by hand 

Work began the week after Thanksgiving, with pastry team members* spending a combined 150 hours to bake, assemble, and decorate their holiday masterpiece

The Inn's pastry team decorates their gingerbread project(L-R) Team members Leilani Padilla, Megan Shreve, and Laura Hinzman

“Our shopping list for ingredients was a little overwhelming,” Chef McFarland admits.

Shopping list

• Powdered sugar: 200 lbs. 
• Chocolate: 40 lbs. 
• Foiled chocolate balls: 35 lbs. 
• Rolled wafer cookies: 30 lbs. 
• Gingerbread: 20 lbs.
• Fondant: 20 lbs. 
• Isomalt: 20 lbs. 
• Rock candy: 15 lbs. 
• M&M'S®: 6 lbs.
• Jordan almonds: 2 lbs. 
• Gumballs: ½ lb. 

Inside information

Snowman and raccoon are part of the gingerbread displayLook for charming touches like these BFFs (Best Frosting Friends)!

Cinnamon-scented smoke coming out of the gingerbread chimneyOn display now through January 7, 2019, The Inn’s gingerbread Lodge Gate is a feast for the eyes and the nose. 

“In addition to the spicy fragrance of ginger and the sweetness of all the candy decorations, we placed a cinnamon-scented infuser inside the structure,” said Chef McFarland.

“It makes it look as if there’s real smoke coming from the chimney—and it smells delicious!”

Create your own gingerbread masterpiece

Join us for a Gingerbread Tea at The Inn—a time-honored tradition that offers fun for all ages! The Inn's pastry chef will be on hand to assist you as you decorate your house with a selection of colorful candies. Also available, assorted tea sandwiches and desserts from our Holiday Tea menu, and for an additional charge, seasonal cocktails. Find complete details and make reservations now for December 15, 16, 19, 20, 21, or 22 by calling 866-336-1245.

*Pastry team members 
Ashley Buchleitner
Aspen Galley
Dana McFarland
Karen Neal
Laura Hinzman
Leilani Padilla
Lucas Conti
Megan Shreve
Rachel Tipping
Tony Mushinski

Featured blog image: Biltmore's Lodge Gate, constructed of gingerbread, on display now at The Inn on Biltmore Estate

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