Some might say it looks good enough to eat, and, for the most part, it is.
“It’s about 3,200 bricks on this house,” said Mohegan Sun pastry chef Lynn Mansel. “4,200 shingles. They’re 8 inch.”
A labor of love.
After four 18-hour days, the gingerbread house at Mohegan Sun is complete.
The royal icing of powdered sugar and egg whites holds it all together like cement.
“And you can eat it as well. So it’s good,” said Mansel, but he doesn’t encourage that. “I never encourage them eating it.”
But that doesn’t stop people from taking a bite out of Mansel’s annual creation.
“So for eight weeks, a lot of repair work for me,” said Mansel.
Along with the edible chocolate stockings hung with such care, a chef-inspired weather vane tops the 28-foot house guarded by Mary Poppins and Thai-style figures inspired by the chef’s international students.
“20,000 people come on Thanksgiving Day that are Asian. So, the house has to be completed ’cause people get hungry,” joked Mansel.
The finishing touches were put on by students from St. Mary-St. Joseph School in Willimantic.
“And it’s hands on,” said Mansel. “So elementary kids are the best things for that.”
The tradition started eight years ago.
Each year, he adds something new, and this year, it is a pastry shop sign which is inspired by the chef’s recent trip to Switzerland.
Last year, it was a mailbox for Letters to Santa and they received 250 letters which were then sent on to the North Pole. The mailbox was reinstalled Tuesday morning.
“Oh, that’s really cool,” said Brooke DeMague of New Milford. “I’m gonna write mine tonight.”
While the house may look better than it tastes after a few weeks, it has become a holiday tradition for many.
“A lot of people will come here and take pictures for their Christmas cards,” said Mansel.