Santa always seems larger than life when you're a young child sitting on his lap, but at the Hilton Americas-Houston, he really is bigger (and sweeter) than you could possibly imagine.
A one-ton confectionery display — crafted by the hotel's pastry chef Mahesh Weerasinghe — is made entirely from chocolate and gingerbread and features a jolly Santa Claus, surrounded by three hardworking elves and two reindeer (one of them is a red-nosed Rudolph, of course).
The enormous Santa sits in a beautifully decorated chair next to a wagon-full of toys, all sitting atop a platform of sculpted milk chocolate, replicating weathered wood boards. The chocolate portion of the display weighs more than 1,500 pounds in its entirety — equivalent to 1,200,000 chocolate chips and 3,648,000 calories (just try to conceptualize that for a second).
The entire scene weighs in at 600 pounds, which is equivalent to around 1,100,000 calories. Not even Santa could eat that much gingerbread.
The gingerbread-bricked, frosting-mortared fireplace sitting behind the entire scene weighs in at 600 pounds, which is equivalent to around 1,100,000 calories. Not even Santa could eat that much gingerbread.
Weerasinghe, who received training under award-winning chocolatier chef Rudy Wieder, sculpted the sweet display by using chocolate as an artist uses clay. He proceeded by melting the chocolate, letting it cool to attain a malleable consistency and then detailed the pieces using wood and clay carving tools.
According to the hotel, approximately 960 man-hours and four months of creative work and construction went into the intricately carved and sculpted holiday creation.
The immense chocolate vignette, which is open to the public, will be on display in the main lobby of the Hilton Americas-Houston — located at 1600 Lamar — through the holidays.
As visitors will recognize if they viewed the display last December, Weerasinghe has continued adding on to the annual display each year. Perhaps we can expect a Mrs. Claus in 2015?