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Good Enough to Eat: A Gingerbread House for the Generations

Dec 12, 2012 09:32PM ● By Erin Frisch

Good Enough to Eat: A Gingerbread House for the Generations

A long-standing tradition of the Hanover Inn, the annual handmade and hand-decorated gingerbread house stands in the center of the lobby—a main attraction for Hanover’s holiday festivities.

The pastry chefs of the Hanover Inn bakeshop work on this project for nearly two months before the house is ready to be displayed at the Inn. Each year, the process is not only labor intensive but also a creative undertaking, as each house is unique in design. Past years have produced a gingerbread boat, a gingerbread Whoville, and a gingerbread mouse house, complete with tiny mouse rooms. In honor of the Hanover Inn’s reconstruction, this year’s masterpiece is a miniature depiction of the Inn itself. Highlights of the baked “inn” are sugar-paned windows and a jelly-ring patio. Perhaps the most charming feature is the blue candy-glass pond (maybe it’s Occum Pond—the real thing is just around the corner). The pond is surrounded by tiny heaps of chocolate pebbles, and just below the surface it teems with red fish, ostensibly hibernating for the winter. Marzipan ice-skaters whirl on the pond, some poised on the tips of their toes.

The amazing bakers at the Inn have captured a true representation of Hanover in sugar and flour. A large Christmas tree stands in the middle of the “green,” surrounded by two marzipan ice sculptures, a dinosaur and a red-and-white striped Dr. Seuss hat. Near the green there’s a brightly glazed gazebo. The display is sprinkled with coconut and mini marshmallow snow. It’s more than enough to make your mouth water.

The gingerbread house has become much more than a Hanover tradition. I overheard one woman say that when she was little, each year after Christmas Eve Mass, her family would walk from the church to the lobby of the Inn to admire the house. She described how the mesmerized children would stand in awe before the masterpiece, and how every member of the family would bask in the warm scent of cinnamon that seems to surround the magical house even weeks after it takes its position in the lobby. It is truly a child’s delight; with perfectly detailed marzipan people and emerald-icing fir trees, every detail is complete.

Stop by the Inn to view this chef d’oeuvre of baking, and enjoy a complimentary snickerdoodle from the generous pile stationed near the house. I’m betting these are offered so that no one is tempted to indulge his or her fantasy of taking a nibble out of the house. After all, the combination of gingery aroma and tantalizing eye-candy is hard for anyone, child or adult, to resist.

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