One of the largest hotels in Minnesota recently built one of the area's largest gingerbread houses in an effort to provide holiday cheer to guests staying over the holidays.
The Kahler Grand Hotel in Rochester finished building the massive gingerbread house and held a ribbon cutting on December 1.
The house-which contains more than 4,000 pounds of edible gingerbread-measures 16 feet tall, 12 feet long, and eight-and-a-half feet wide. It was made with 3,600 gingerbread "bricks," more than 400 cookie roof shingles, and 800 pounds of flour.
The Kahler is adjacent to the Mayo Clinic, and many patients are guests at the hotel, Marketing Associate Chelsea Reich told Twin Cities Business on Thursday. Hotel staff wanted to do something festive for those and other guests, given that they're away from their homes and families during the Christmas season.
"The idea was sparked by knowing that people are going to be here over the holidays," Reich said. The hope is that it will serve as "a spirit-lifter for our guests."
The Kahler Grand Hotel is Minnesota's second-largest hotel based on rooms, of which there are 668.
Hotel Chef Pasquale Presa and General Manager Bob LaCasse were the masterminds behind the project, Reich said. Planning began in July, and "all hands were on deck down in the kitchen" in order to make it happen. The hotel's engineering team made blueprints of the house and built the underlying structure before the culinary team began decorating it with gingerbread and other edible materials.
Reich estimates that 50 people, including kitchen and engineering staff, were involved in building the house-which took about a week.
The gingerbread house is in the main lobby of the hotel and will be up all month. Reich said that "people are ecstatic" when they see the house for the first time, and hotel staff will "absolutely" consider undertaking a similar project next year.
"Our goal was really to have a positive impact in the community," she said.
For those who enjoy marveling at gingerbread wonders, Lord Fletcher's Old Lake Lodge on Lake Minnetonka also has an impressive display that will be up all month. Head Pastry Chef Sam Shaw spent five weeks creating an intricate winter scene-this time in miniature form-using 50 pounds of gingerbread, 100 pounds of sugar, and other edible materials. It even has moving figurines that are made of sugar. To see that creation on a recent Kare 11 newscast, click here (it begins at the 13:45 mark).