The Benson Hotel’s 47-year-long holiday tradition continues as the property invites the public to view this year’s Gingerbread Masterpiece. Designed and built by professional pastry chef, David Diffendorfer, this year’s architectural feat guarantees to evoke the cheery holiday spirit in visitors of all ages with an intricate candy-and-gingerbread representation of one of Europe’s largest castles, Corvin Castle, located in Hunedoara, Romania.
Surrounded by festive trimmings of more than 300 poinsettias and a magnificent 20-foot Douglas Fir Christmas tree, the Gingerbread Masterpiece will be on display in the grand lobby through December 26.
Referred to by many as one of the seven wonders of Romania, the original Corvin Castle was constructed in 1446 under the reign of a Hungarian military leader, Iancu de Hunedoara. Today, a number of legends are associated with the castle, the most prominent among them being that Vlad the Impaler spent seven years in the dungeons of Corvin Castle. It is rumored that the stay resulted in his eventual madness.
Chef Diffendorfer’s meticulous design incorporates the Gothic Renaissance–style characteristics that make the castle unique by using the impressive edible features for which he is known. For example, his interpretation of Corvin Castle combines a myriad of lofty towers and bastions with stain-glassed windows and balconies. Additionally, Chef Diffendorfer’s Corvin Castle is set atop an edible sugar replica of the Zlasti River and surrounded by cone tree forests. This year’s structure was crafted entirely by hand, and required approximately 150 pounds of gingerbread, 50 pounds of marzipan and 20 pounds of chocolate to complete.
“2018 is a special year for The Benson as we celebrate both change and time-honored traditions. From completing our renovations to bringing back the Gingerbread Masterpiece each year, we strive to maintain the highest level of guest experience in everything we do,” said George Schweitzer, The Benson Hotel’s new Managing Director. “We are so thrilled to have Chef Diffendorfer continue to create these works of art for us for and share his holiday magic with our community for the past 26 years.”
Earlier this year, The Benson Hotel completed a two-year, $14 million renovation to give a refreshed feel to the property’s guestrooms, suites and corridors, while still upholding its historic roots. Past gingerbread creations by Chef Diffendorfer include representations of Lichtenstein Castle, Château de Chenonceau, Château Loire, St. Vitus Cathedral, Neuschwanstein Castle, and Boldt Castle, as well as several of his own designs, including “Santa’s North Pole,” “The Isles of Gingerbread,” “An Austrian Hillside Town” and his first American castle, “Biltmore House.” For a full gallery of Chef Diffendorfer’s past creations, please visit www.gingerbreadcities.com.
While the annual viewing of The Benson Hotel’s Gingerbread Masterpiece is free, attendees are encouraged to donate unwrapped toys to Human Solutions, a local organization that will be celebrating its 30th anniversary this year and is focused on serving the community, especially local families, affected by homelessness and poverty. All of the gifts collected during this holiday season will go to Human Solutions’ Holiday Store, which serves over 500 children in the community, and is open for three days a week before Christmas.
For more information about this year’s Gingerbread Masterpiece or The Benson Hotel, please visit www.bensonhotel.com.
The Benson Hotel
309 SW Broadway
Portland OR 97205
Ph. (503) 228-2000
Lesley is the founder and editor of What’s Up NW. Prior to creating WhatsUpNW.com, she was the Seattle city editor for AskMissA.com. For both publications, Lesley has covered fashion shows, openings, and local charity events. She has written numerous articles shining the light on local businesses, encouraging readers to always shop local.