Small Plates: How to Create Sugar Plum Visions

Posted December 9, 2009 at 2:14pm

Nothing says Christmas quite like gingerbread. Every December, pastry chefs and bakers roll out this sweet treat and shape it into elaborate houses or miniature men, and this year is no exception.

Executive Pastry Chef Charles Froke of Seasons restaurant at the Four Seasons (2800 Pennsylvania Ave. NW) in Georgetown is upping the ante when it comes to gingerbread creations. Froke has spent 150 hours creating a miniature replica of the Smithsonian Institution Castle from 100 pounds of gingerbread. The castle, which will be unveiled at the hotel Wednesday, stands 3.5 feet tall and features intricate stained glass windows made from colored sugar. The castle will be on display through Jan. 1 during breakfast and brunch at Seasons.

If you’re more interested in helping to create a gingerbread house, look no further than Tudor Place (1644 31st St. NW). Throughout the holiday season, the famed home of Martha Washington’s family is offering a Gingerbread House Workshop for children ages 6 and older. For $12, kids can go on a tour of the mansion that will educate them on how Christmas was celebrated in Washington long ago. At the tour’s conclusion, children will have a chance to decorate and take home their own gingerbread house.

The Ritz-Carlton (1150 22nd St. NW) is hosting a similar event on Dec. 19 that also includes a buffet lunch. For $55 for parents and $35 for children, customers will get a crash course in gingerbread from the hotel’s pastry chefs, in addition to a holiday meal.