Crowne Plaza Christchurch is rounding off a successful year with the creation of an impressive gingerbread house displayed in the lobby to delight guests this Christmas. Harking back to his European heritage, head chef Mirco Turtschi and his team have spent nine long hours in the Crowne Plaza kitchen rolling out the pastry, before building and decorating the gingerbread house.

Swiss-born Turtschi is excited to establish a tradition that harks back to his childhood festivities, and is well practiced in making gingerbread houses for big hotels. Gingerbread houses date back to European antiquity when crusaders returned home from the Middle East with ‘spicy bread’ that had ginger preservative properties. The infamous Grimm’s brothers fairy-tale ‘Hansel and Gretel’ further popularised the tradition and now this spicy-sweet treat is celebrated every year on December 12 with International ‘Gingerbread House Day’.

“Back home, gingerbread houses are such a big part of celebrating Christmas, having the whole family come together to decorate the house. They’re everywhere, in the markets and shops and on display in people’s homes,” said Turtschi. “We’ve created a tremendous half-a metre by half-a-metre house, so it will be really neat to see children, families and guests come in and enjoy our not-so-little piece of Christmas magic.”

The house is supported with a wooden frame to ensure it stands the test of time until the end of January. The recipe is from Chelsea Sugar and is embellished with all the traditional trimmings of white icing, sprinkles, liquorice, candy canes and even some mini gingerbread men in their own outdoor gingerbread spa pool.