If you head to The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota this holiday season, you'll be greeted by a massive gingerbread display created by pastry chef Lyndsy McDonald and her team.
And trust us, this is no ordinary gingerbread house. Instead, McDonald's creation—titled Journey of Discovery—is the shape of a pirate ship, featuring a mermaid made of white modeling chocolate and edible gold paint, "glass" bottles made of sugar, a sea of blue and white M&Ms, and a white chocolate turtle that's the actual size of a Kemp's Ridley sea turtle. The ship is 21.5 feet long, eight feet wide, and 16 feet tall from floor to mast; the kraken legs rising from the candy sea range in height from five to eight feet. The gingerbread was pressed with a wood-grain pattern before it was baked to create an even more authentic look.
The ship took more than 350 hours to create; all told, it's made of 320 lbs. of gingerbread, 30 gallons of royal icing, 180 lbs. of fondant icing, 90 lbs. of M&Ms, 85 lbs. of chocolate and 70 lbs. of assorted candy.
You can see the display through the holidays at 1111 Ritz-Carlton Drive, Sarasota.