Each year, to celebrate the holiday season, the pastry team at Four Winds Casinos in New Buffalo, Mich. creates a magnificent gingerbread house display for the casino’s front entrance. Guests get to enjoy something unique and fun: a Christmas train, a gigantic castle, or a cute little Christmas village. However, this year’s Whoville from "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" might be the cutest and most intricate display yet.
A team of 12 pastry cooks and facility engineers have been working tirelessly since July to bring the magical world of Dr. Seuss to life for both the South Bend and New Buffalo locations. Now, nearly 300 pounds of sugar and 26 adorable houses later, the pastry team has created the perfect display to spread some holiday cheer.
Executive Pastry Chef Michael Diamond explained that for the past couple of years they’ve stuck to doing villages, but that they wanted to shake things up this year and do something a bit more vibrant. What better choice is there than Whoville?
“Typically we just do traditional gingerbread houses along the 50s and 60s theme, but we wanted to do something a little bit different this year. We wanted to get more color in it. Every year we learn something and know more than we did the year before, and I thought this would be a fun colorful theme and something unique from what we normally do,” said Diamond.
The staff took creativity to a whole new level. Every house was a bright color and a fun, unique shape. The team used fondant to bring everyone's favorite characters to life, such as little Cindy Lou Who, and Max, the Grinch’s furry companion. A real highlight was the Who’s Christmas feast table, decked out in the tiniest and most detailed food sculptures.
“Just working with the staff and seeing all of the new things that they come up with and seeing that creativity--that’s what’s awesome about this. I give some basic general ideas and then they run with it. I’m always amazed by what they can pull out of their heads,” said Diamond.
Sparkling, frozen ponds were created with sugar, gingerbread was used to make a cute cobblestone path surrounding Whoville, and cookies were used to make shutters and roofs. With all these little details it’s clear that a lot of love and thought went into the display.
“Christmas is such a big thing for my family--my mom used to make gingerbread houses for people and they’d hang on to them for 20 or 30 years and keep them sitting around their house. We just want people to be filled with some holiday cheer,” said Diamond.
Creating this wonderful gingerbread display was by no means easy, but all it takes is one look to know it was incredibly worth it. Diamond is extremely proud of and grateful to his staff for creating another fantastic work of art.
“I’m so thankful for the staff. A lot of the work was done outside of their normal work hours so they put in some crazy overtime to get this done. They did it with so much glee and I’m thankful to have a staff that wants to learn and do better--every year they want to do something bigger than the year before. I appreciate all their hard work, time, and energy,” said Diamond.
This year’s gingerbread house display is the one to beat--everyone is excited to see what the Four Winds Casinos pastry team comes up with next. Just like the Grinch’s heart, next year’s display is sure to be even three times more heartwarming.
To learn more about Four Winds Casinos, visit fourwindscasino.com.