Gingerbread walls, cracker sidewalks, frosting windows and coconut snow – the West Virginia University president and his family may not be able to fit in this house, but they can eat it.

WVU Dining Services devoted approximately two months to the design, preparation and building of a gingerbread version of the Blaney House, where President James Clements and his family reside.

The gingerbread house has all of the features of the real version – it even has sky lights and a sun porch.

A gingerbread Christmas tree and fondant snowman sit in front of the house and chocolate fondant reindeer rest in the front yard. Candy canes pillars hold up the roof covering the porch and frosting wreaths garnish the windows. Gum drops, peppermints, candy canes, peanut M & Ms, nonpareils, Hershey Kisses and a variety of hard candy line the outside.

The only part of the house that is not edible is the colorful holiday lights that adorn the roof top and Christmas tree.

Four members of the WVU Dining Services staff are responsible for the masterpiece – Executive Chef Eric Filburn, Production Manager Nick Lapana, Manager Peggy Walden and Food Service Assistant Marsha Strosnider.

Long before construction of the house began, Walden took several pictures of the Blaney House from a variety of angles. She used the photographs to sketch the house and determine the proportions.

Walden baked each of the gingerbread pieces at home – in total she spent about 150 hours on the project.

After the pieces were baked and the candy was purchased, Filburn, Lapana and Strosnider helped put it all together.

“It was very interesting and a lot of fun. It allowed us to be creative,” said Lapana. “It is a great, fun thing to do in preparation for the holidays.”

In all, the house is composed of about 62 pounds of gingerbread, 10 pounds of icing and 10 pounds of candy – causing the house to weigh in at approximately 80 pounds.

The completed gingerbread house sits in the center of the Blaney House, where Clements and his family can enjoy it.

This is the third year that Dining Services has constructed a gingerbread version of something on WVU’s campus. The first year they built Woodburn Hall and last year they built the Creative Arts Center.



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