Thursday, December 25, 2014

Orlando’s Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel Spreads Holiday Cheer with Inaugural Gingerbread House Competition and Display

Orlando’s Rosen Shingle Creek, (9939 Universal Blvd., Orlando, Fl) is well known for its exceptional dining and artfully crafted pastries, handmade by world renowned executive pastry chef, David Ramirez, and his team. But now, the hotel is inviting other local chefs, pastry enthusiasts and members of the hospitality community to share in the confectionery fun as it introduces the inaugural Rosen Shingle Creek Gingerbread House Competition. The contest will benefit the new Florida Hospital Transplant House, scheduled to open in 2015.

The competition will be judged by Ramirez, former winner of the Food Network USA Pastry Challenge and former team captain for Team USA in the Coupe du Monde de la Patisserie, or World Pastry Cup; members of the Florida Hospital’s Gourmet Soirée committee, Chef Emily Ellyn and Bill Sullivan; and other community leaders.

“We are thrilled to introduce this wonderful new holiday tradition to Rosen Shingle Creek,” said Leslie Menichini, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Rosen Hotels and Resorts. “The Gingerbread House Competition not only will provide a charming holiday backdrop for our guests, but also, the proceeds will go to a very worthwhile cause, the Florida Hospital Foundation to benefit the Florida Hospital Transplant House to aid organ transplant recipients and their families.”

The gingerbread houses were on display Dec. 1-22 at “Gingersnap Station” in the hotel’s main lobby. Judging took place on Dec. 18 from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Entries were judged on originality, overall appearance, choice and use of materials, and difficulty of design. All gingerbread houses were original; no kits could be used. The main components of the house, including the walls and roof, had to be constructed of gingerbread and all components of the house must be edible

 The Gingerbread House Competition is just one of many holiday events at Rosen Shingle Creek this season. Other festive holiday events include a Holiday Entertaining workshop with “Retro Rad” Chef Emily Ellyn; the Big Band Dinner Show Series, featuring a performance by Michael Andrew and The Atomic Big Band, A Blast from the Past Original ’50s Holiday Revue, as well as a Nutcracker Ballet Performance, and a high Tea, performances by local choirs; and much more. A variety of specially priced accommodations packages are also available for holiday getaways.

I arrived after the judging was over because I got stuck in rush hour traffic, so I'm not sure which gingerbread house was the winner. There were about a dozen gingerbread houses in all. The most impressive was a replica of the Rosen Shingle Creek hotel. On an easel was a giant check for $5000 to the Florida Hospital Transplant House. Carolers in period costumes were packing their instruments to leave. As I sketched a huge chorus of children sang at a staging area across the lobby.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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