Gingerbread rocket prepared for liftoff at Stein Eriksen Lodge
Walk into Stein Eriksen Lodge and you’ll be greeted by the rich, warm smell of gingerbread. Follow your nose and, next to the gorgeously lit, stories-tall Christmas tree, you’ll find it: a gingerbread rocket, the “Rudolph 2,” this year’s holiday gingerbread creation, an annual tradition at the lodge.
You know who won’t smell it, though? Executive Pastry Chef Jeremy Garcia, the artist behind the creation.
“People tell me how great it smells, but after spending weeks baking the pieces basically non-stop, I can’t smell it at all anymore,” he said with a laugh.
Each year the lodge’s gingerbread creation is something new and unique — a sailing ship, even an AT-AT walker from “Star Wars” — and this year Garcia said the team settled on a rocket.
“Well first, it works well in the space, which is more vertical than horizontal,” he said. “And we also wanted to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing and the first all-female spacewalk this year.”
Garcia said there are quite a few cooks in the kitchen, proverbially speaking; several parties have a say in the design, from the executive culinary team to the engineering department, which is tasked with assembling the gingerbread structure in the lodge. And Garcia said there are “quite a few” changes along the way.
“We go from rough ideas, to solid design drafts, but then those change as necessary for support and construction needs, and the design is organic and changes daily,” he said.
The rocket includes about 25 gallons of royal icing and 400 pounds of gingerbread. Including the wooden frame interior, Garcia said the weight of the rocket is in the thousands of pounds.
“It’s heavy,” he deadpanned.
After more than two weeks of hard work, Garcia said he is glad to be finished with the project for a couple of reasons: First, he now gets to enjoy the reactions of guests as they lay eyes on the rocket; and second, because he can finally stop baking gingerbread.
“Next year’s display is going to be a 2-square-foot gingerbread box,” Garcia said, laughing. “Instead of two weeks I’ll be done with it in two hours.”
All photos by Tanzi Propst, The Park Record.
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