The average gingerbread house made by the average citizen stands about nine inches tall and should look like nothing more than a cheery, candy-decorated cottage. The gingerbread mansions at the Seattle Sheraton Hotel's annual Gingerbread Village are far beyond average, as they're made by professional architects from around the area.
Some of these behemoths are larger than the children who come to gaze upon them. All of them use an obscene amount of candy and junk food.
(On a side note, the event benefits the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Northwest Chapter. Sugar in no way causes Type 1 diabetes, and this event helps raise awareness about children with Type 1 diabetes.)
Packed with frosting, chocolate and fantastical candy creations, the entire display begs the question: how many calories are in a gingerbread mansion?The "Ho! Ho! Home on a Houseboat!" is not, I suppose, the best example of a gingerbread mountain. But with chocolate tile roofs containing more than 1,200 calories - about 72 chocolate Hershey tiles equals six milk chocolate candy bars, which each contain 210 calories - and graham cracker siding containing an estimated 1,534 calories, it's definitely unhealthier than the average gingerbread house.
I would have continued tabulating the calories in the houseboat display - not pictured are a truly impressive jelly bean mosaic of a seaplane and a replica of the Fremont Troll, made from an undetermined substance - but then a true gingerbread mansion caught my eye. The "Tree Home for the Holidays" would probably crush me if it toppled over. Built from a wood and cardboard base - how many calories does wood contain? - before being coated in plaster and a Rice Krispies Treat mixture, this army-honoring gingerbread mansion was the most impressive in the village.
One batch of Rice Krispies Treats contains 1,680 calories. Even if the coating of the gingerbread mansion used only five batches of Rice Krispies Treats, it would contain over 10,000 calories. The siding of one treehouse was made from sour power berry blue belts. One serving of the belts, the equivalent of four belts, contains 140 calories. Careful counting revealed that about ten servings of belts were used; the sour power berry blue belt siding contained 1,400 calories.
A sudden crash distracted me from my experiment - the 'big screen' television in the "Santa's Home at the North Pole" display had toppled over onto an unsuspecting Mrs. Claus. (Some of the children present were bothered when Santa didn't leap up to rescue his wife or the much beloved Rudolph, who was also caught accident. Could there be trouble brewing in the Claus marriage?)
My concentration broken, I began to wander around the gingerbread mansions and admire the hours of work that must having gone into making them. I think that was the point of the village in the first place. For those still eager to determine how many calories can be found in a gingerbread mansion, judge the pictures below yourselves:
The base of the treehouse gingerbread mansion