Travel: Gingerbread by the Sea 

Cavalier chef creates a tasty replica

Those looking for a traditional ambience will want to try the renovated rooms at the Cavalier on the Hill — open May through October. Beachcombers with a hankering for an oceanfront stay or winter getaway, should check out the Cavalier Oceanfront. The resort offers a long stretch of beach, two Olympic-sized pools, hard and clay tennis courts, a health club and shuffleboard.

If you’re planning a trip to the resort after Thanksgiving, you’ll have the opportunity to see the creative handiwork of executive chef Robert Cilliza. He starts working on his gingerbread version of the Cavalier on the Hill as soon as he finishes Thanksgiving preparations.

“We start off with 50 pounds of every kind of gum drop, candy cane and M&M’s and 400 pounds of gingerbread,” Cilliza says. “We use 500 pounds of confectionary sugar for the royal icing. Everything is made from scratch.”

From start to finish, the gingerbread house takes more than two weeks to create and build. Guests get to watch the progress — the house is decorated in the lobby of the oceanfront hotel.

According to Cilliza, to get the proper effect, you must know how to make and store the gingerbread. “If it’s too thick, it will fall apart,” he says. “You want to keep it at a moderate temperature. Don’t put it in a cold room or it will crack. Heat damages it as well.”

This year, the hotel is adding a new element to the display — an electric train will circle the gingerbread replica. “We’ll keep it up until Jan. 1,” Cilliza says. “It’s a good tradition for us.” HS

Cavalier Gingerbread

Combine the following ingredients for one gingerbread house:

¬ cup unsalted butter (room temperature)

_ cup sugar

1 egg

¬ cup molasses

2 teaspoons white wine vinegar

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 « teaspoon baking soda

« teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom

Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.

Decorate with white icing, gum drops, M&Ms, candy canes, Oreo cookies or any candy or cookie of your choice.




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