If rye, buckwheat, and whole wheat flour isn’t your idea of an ideal foundation for a house, it is just what the President ordered. To officially kick off the holidays, a team of pastry chef “architects” build the 1600 Pennsylvania replica for the annual White House Gingerbread House to be displayed in the State Dining Room throughout the season.
During last Wednesday’s highly-anticipated reveal, Mrs. Obama welcomed military families to be the first to view this year’s White House Gingerbread House, which weighs in at 300-pounds (downsized from last year’s 400-pounder). More than 90,000 visitors are expected to see the edible replica this December.
Complete with Santa and his reindeer, working electric lights, and an oversized First Dog Bo, this candy replica of the White House has been a tradition since the 1960s. Executive Chef Bill Yosses, who has created the past three homes for the Obamas, explained that he wanted to “celebrate the craftsmanship of the White House by those first builders,” hence the reason for the gray-white gingerbread used to resemble how architect James Hoban built the real White House back in 1978 before it was painted in 1978 to protect the sandstone.
A “spackle and mortar” made of white chocolate holds the structure together while silicon molds helped to create the architectural details around the windows and doors. Real photographs of some of the residence staff and famous rooms emerge behind the windows of the first and third level. On the left side of the house is an incredibly detailed Kitchen Garden complete with tiny parsnips, radishes, endive and other cool-season vegetables growing in raised beds of chocolate dirt.
“It has been a huge part of life for [chef] Cris Comerford and myself, we use it every day, for First Family meals, for State Dinners…and we always use honey from the beehive, too” comments Yosses.
If your appetite for edible architecture is as strong as ours, there are plenty of options to get your fix. Philip Moraeu, featured in this month’s edition of Los Angeles Magazine, has been crowned “The Gingerbread Man” for overseeing the annual production of more than 250,000 edible homes and 3-D designs as well as 3 million hand-decorated cookies for Monaco Baking Company.
The Sante Fe, California-based candy enterprise supplies cookies to the top catalog companies, gourmet food chains, and upscale department stores including L.L. Bean, Williams-Sonoma, and Sur La Table so that you can bake, build, and decorate your own gingerbread home.