A 150-pound gingerbread recreation of Winterthur’s mansion will greet guests heading on its Christmas tour this year.
The gingerbread house, which sits on a 4-foot by 8-foot base, was delivered Thursday by Bredenbeck’s Bakery of Chestnut Hill, Pennsylvania. Her pies have been featured on TLC and the Food Network.
Diana Anello, Bredenbeck’s lead sugar artist, said she wasn’t sure how many eggs or how much flour or sugar was used in the creation.
“I can tell you that we used 24 sheets of gingerbread that were 18 by 23,” he said.
The house, which stands approximately 3 feet tall, features dozens of windows, as well as a beautiful rendition of a lighted conservatory, complete with a dried flower tree, just like the actual house.
Winterthur ordered the gingerbread mansion to pay homage to his exhibition “Jacqueline Kennedy and HF du Pont: From Winterthur to the White House.” It is on display until January 8, 2023.
Gingerbread houses have been a part of the White House Christmas decorations for at least as long as Jackie decorated there, said Jennie Brown, Winterthur’s manager of audience development.
Winterthur’s version will be located in the Montgomery Room next to the Galleries reception. Guests leaving on the tour will have to pass it.
The decoration for this year’s Christmas tour is also linked to the Jackie and Henry exhibit. Beginning Saturday, November 19, the tour will feature trees modeled after the trees at the White House through the years.
Jackie Kennedy created the first White House theme tree in 1961, using the Christmas ballet “The Nutcracker.”
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Also new this year will be a toy train exhibit presented by the Standard Gauge Association. It will be open from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, as well as on Wednesday nights in December from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Anello said getting to create the house was a nice break from decorating wedding cakes.
“It’s not that I don’t love wedding cakes,” she said, “but for me, gingerbread is like my one yearly passion that I have to make.”
The hardest part of creating the gingerbread house, he said, was trying to map the full scope of the building, which in real life contains 175 rooms and five stories cascading down a hill.
“I recently came here for a tour. It was amazing,” she said. “And when you’re standing here so small looking at this magnificent building, it’s like, ‘How can I fit all this in?’ How do I scale this down and get a bite size version of this great cake. So for me, I had to take each structural building piece by piece from all these different images, put all the pieces of the puzzle together, and create the building.”
After that, the hardest part was mustering the patience he needed to remove the frosting that defines Winterthur’s dozens of windows.
The entire structure is edible, he said.
“Why would we do something you couldn’t enjoy?” Anello said.
It will still be edible in January, he said.
Anello joked that just for quality control, he eats one of the bakery’s gingerbread men at least every other day.
“I have been known to eat gingerbread that I know was made months ago,” he said.
During the holiday season, Winterthur is open daily from 10 am to 5 pm Self-guided tours are available from 10 am to 3:30 pm No reservations are necessary. Admission is $27 adults; $25 seniors and students; $8 children from 2 to 11 years old. Ticket includes a tour, the garden, a narrated trolley tour of the garden, the Jackie and Henry exhibit, the Campbell Collection of Soup Toureens, and other exhibits in the galleries.
Betsy Price is a freelance writer from Wilmington with 40 years of experience, including 15 at The News Journal in Delaware.