The Fairmont and St. Francis Hotels Square Off With Enormous Gingerbread Structures

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The 1200-lb. castle at the Westin St. Francis. Photo: J. Barmann/Grub Street

The Westin St. Francis and its executive pastry chef Jean-Francois Houdré just hauled out their gingerbread castle, which weighs some 1200 pounds and stands about five feet tall atop a big pedestal in the main lobby off Union Square. The thing was originally made in 2005 (judging by the look of some of that buttercream around the base, it could use a little dust-off), and each year Houdré adds something to it. This year's addition is "an extensive life-like replica of a medieval French village complete with intricately constructed homes, a church, a bakery, and stores." Also there's a train running around it, and we wouldn't recommend putting any of it in your mouth. Meanwhile, up on Nob Hill ...

Photo: Rob Nagle/Examiner... Not to be outdone, the Fairmont Hotel and its chef J.W. Foster unveiled their crazy-huge gingerbread monstrosity over the weekend. Theirs is actually life-size, standing 23 feet high, and you can walk through it, as the Examiner reports. It frames the entrance to the hotel's Laurel Court bar and restaurant, and it took about 600 man-hours in the pastry department to build this thing, plus another 160 hours to build the framework. We guess the economy is never too bad for such grand gestures at holiday time — and at least this one isn't made of six-year-old gingerbread!

We're gonna go brush our teeth now.

Fairmont San Francisco unveils largest-ever gingerbread house [Examiner]