State's largest gingerbread display debuts

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By Chloe Nordquist By Chloe Nordquist
By Chloe Nordquist By Chloe Nordquist
By Chloe Nordquist By Chloe Nordquist
By Chloe Nordquist By Chloe Nordquist

PHOENIX -- JW Marriott Desert Ridge debuted their Winter Wonderland-themed holiday gingerbread village Monday.

The gingerbread display is the largest in the state and is made entirely out of food.

"We were inspired by certain Christmas movies and we just wanted to capture all of the aspects of Christmas using all edible ingredients. We didn't want to put any wood or Styrofoam or anything so we tried to use gingerbread," Joel Gonzalez, pastry chef, said.

The pastry chefs used 2,000 pounds of gingerbread, 1,500 pounds of sugar and candy, and 1,000 pounds of chocolate.

It took 900 hours put in by 16 different chefs to put together the masterpiece that was started in August.

"We start that early so we can plan everything," Gonzalez said. "Everything came out how we wanted it to. And I think at the end everyone is happy with the result."

The chefs also revealed their secret for how they get all of that gingerbread, chocolate, and candy to stick together.

"For royal icing all it is is just egg whites, you whip that up in a bowl and add powdered sugar and a little bit of cream of tartar or lemon juice," Heather Shaw, pastry supervisor, said.

The consistency should be tacky, according to Shaw. The cream of tartar helps it dry, and the sugar helps it stick.

The gingerbread village display is open to the public in the resort's lobby through Dec. 28.