Your Chateau/Creative

Festive Project: Chateau de la Motte Husson Gingerbread House

Brian Sutton from Vancouver created this showstopping Chateau gingerbread masterpiece, he spoke to us all about his wonderful project (that nearly didn’t happen)!

I’m Brian, I live in Vancouver and I love anything to do with cooking, baking, travelling and architecture! I'm a big fan of the Escape to The Chateau, there's just something rather romantic about the idea of leaving everything and fixing up a neglected Chateau. Both Angel and Dick are wonderful, interesting people to watch as they lovingly transform their home.  I am looking forward to seeing more of the show when the new season airs here in Canada. 

“I'm a big fan of the Escape to The Chateau, there's just something rather romantic about the idea of leaving everything and fixing up a neglected Chateau.”

Last year I tried my first gingerbread project which was a church with stained-glass windows, I had lots of fun figuring that out. So, for most of the year, I've had the idea to attempt the Chateau in gingerbread and at the beginning of November I grabbed as many pictures of the Chateau that I could find online and used my PC (Visio) to create outlines of each of the sides of the buildings.

To come up with the scale I started with tomato paste cans as the mold for the towers, (roughly 5 cm diameter) and then used this to scale out the remaining parts. I built a paper model and then created a model of thicker cardstock which became the template for the gingerbread pieces. My Chateau template is about 18 separate pieces and almost 80 windows!

My first attempt seemed like it was going well until after about 16 hours I had each piece iced and the sugar windows poured, only to discover that the gingerbread was absorbing humidity each day and I unfortunately had to throw it out because it was too soft. I almost didn't try again, but eventually I found a more robust gingerbread recipe and began again.

The hardest parts were the towers, I think I had to try three times before I got two that were usable and not too cracked (gingerbread really doesn't like to bend) and the roof took a bit of time to figure out all the angles. The icing is standard royal icing but I do make a "glue" of sorts with sugar cooked to hard caramel, gummy bears and marshmallow all melted together…it hardens immediately!

I also made a bit of modelling chocolate for the stair railings and a few trim pieces. There were many lessons learned throughout the weeks for sure! The amount of sleepless nights I had with this really made me appreciate how hard it must be to fix up a real Chateau! Now it’s time to start planning what gingerbread structure I’ll create next year...