A “Ritzy” Gingerbread Village

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The Gingerbread Village at the Ritz-Carlton. It’s a sweet reminder the holidays are here.

“It feels good that it’s all out and all done. The guests are very happy and enjoying it,” says Chef Eliza Aveleda while breathing a sigh of relief.

The impressive display has become a Ritz-Carlton tradition in New Orleans; one that takes seconds to soak in, but weeks to create.

In all 16 structures make up the display this year. It’s a display that is 99% edible. Some of the homes take 12 hours to decorate. It’s a project that entails creating 180lbs of icing, molding makeshift shingles, and baking 1,300lbs of gingerbread.

The gingerbread village starts taking shape in a top secret ballroom. The concept is drawn up and the baking begins well before Thanksgiving.

“From building and cutting and making gingerbread dough and icing, assembling and decorating it’s very time consuming,” says Chef Aveleda.

This year Chef Aveleda transforms some of her favorite New Orleans homes into mini edible replicas.

“I went to the place and just took some pictures, but they don’t have any idea that their house is in our gingerbread house this year,” says Chef Aveleda, “A lot of times they pick the trees because that’s the closest one. They grab all the trees and try to eat it!”

While even the chef admits to trying some as it’s being built she stays away from it come January when the whole thing is tossed out.

“We don’t eat it because it’s sitting here for weeks and weeks. We don’t eat it. It’s hard; just look at.”