A HUGE gingerbread Christmas tree is dazzling guests after being cooked up by chefs at the Hilton London Heathrow at Terminal 5.
The hand-crafted treat is the centrepiece of the hotel’s festive makeover and ingredients include 80kg of flour, 14kg of treacle, 8kg of honey, 400grams of bicarbonate of soda and 400grams of baking powder.
Smaller seasonal goodies have also been placed throughout the hotel and, so far, the quirky approach to decorating has been a hit with visitors.
“We always like to be different and creative,” said hotel manager Alexandra Mosquito. “We didn’t want our bog-standard Christmas tree, we wanted something memorable.”
Adorned with chocolate baubles and icing-sugar snow, the Christmas tree is particularly enchanting for the hotel’s younger guests.
“Some kids have tried to eat it,” said Ms Mosquito. “Because of the amount of ginger we put in to make it last, it’s not edible, but it won’t do any damage.”
The hotel’s own pastry expert collaborated with on-site chefs, putting in four weeks and 376 man hours to complete the winter wonder.
But staff at the Hilton feel it has been worth the effort and expense.
“We didn’t really think about the cost, we just wanted to make something fabulous,” said Ms Mosquito.
And, according to TripAdvisor, the tree has already made quite an impression.
“The fully edible Christmas tree was stunning – gingerbread, icing and chocolates!” said one awestruck reviewer.
The gingerbread architecture does not end at Heathrow – dozens of other Hilton hotels have adopted the idea.
In Austin, Texas, pastry chefs have built an elaborate gingerbread house, beaten only by the efforts of the Shanghai branch, where Santa sits in a gingerbread grotto.
By Dan Cooper, Jemima Owen, Jordan O’Brien