What makes the holidays special to young and old alike? Well, I have a theory – it’s the delight of the surprise. When you open up an unexpected gift, your eyes open wide, a quick smile comes to your face and you lose your breath for a second. The really cool thing about it is the gift giver experiences the same physical reaction as the gift receiver!
One winter when I was a young girl, my brother and I spoiled our Christmas. You see we searched until we found my parent’s special hiding place and we saw our unwrapped gifts! At the time, it was a thrill to seek out and find something we weren’t supposed to see. We kept it our little secret. Then on Christmas morning when we opened the packages, the whole thing fell flat. Knowing what was inside took away the delight and it just wasn’t the same. My brother and I never spoke about it but we never tried to find presents again.
When I went to see the life sized gingerbread house adorning the lobby of the Montage Resort at Deer Valley, I expected it to be wonderful. A 12 foot high gingerbread house was sure to be impressive! I’d heard the resort’s award winning Executive Pastry Chef, Raymond Lammers and his team spent two months building it – so I knew it was going to be really special.
It is spectacular! The house is tiled with over 11,000 gingerbread cookies (2,000 roof tiles, 8,000 small tiles and 1,000 white gingerbread tiles) and completed with:
1 ½ pounds of nutmeg
135 pounds of butter
165 pounds of sugar
170 pounds of molasses
85 pounds of corn syrup
540 eggs AND 110 pounds of special sugar were used for the 26 sugar candies and the 6 window panes.
But there is more! The delight came when while I was looking up at the gingerbread house, a furry friend nudged me. Jonas, the Bernese Mountain Dog Ambassador at the Montage was visiting his very own gingerbread doghouse. Let me ask you this. Who has a gingerbread doghouse? Well, Jonas and his fellow ambassador, Monty both do. These 3 ft. wide and 4 ft. deep gingerbread doghouses sit on either side of the life sized gingerbread house.
When I saw them, I had the same physical reaction as if I was opening that unexpected gift. Everyone around me had it too. I watched teenagers elbowing each other and saying, “Look at the doghouses!” Jonas lapped it all up oblivious to the doghouse as he focused on making sure each one of the guests had a chance to pet him and give him a nice big hug.
Don’t spoil the surprise when you bring your family to visit the gingerbread house at Montage Resort – keep the gingerbread doghouses under wraps! That way you can watch their reactions as their eyes go from the tall roof line of the gingerbread house, to the six foot tall candy canes on either side of the front door, and finally to the doghouses with the names “Jonas” and “Monty” written in icing on the top.