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2008 News Releases

Longwood Dining Services creates gingerbread house model of Ruffner Hall

December 15, 2008

Gingerbread house model of Ruffner Hall The three-story gingerbread house was a team effort among ARAMARK employees and features everything from candy cane columns to benches made of crackers and icing.

Longwood University’s signature building has been faithfully and minutely recreated in a gingerbread house produced by Longwood Dining Services.

The gingerbread house of Ruffner Hall reveals an astonishing attention to details, down to the indented front step, the gold dome atop the roof, the ground-level columns and the balustrade on the second story and roof, a decorated holiday tree inside, and a U.S. flag positioned as if waving in the breeze. It was made both for the annual faculty/staff holiday luncheon Dec. 15 and also for a regional competition among ARAMARK schools.

"We always try to do something special for the holiday luncheon," said Grant Avent, Longwood’s food service director. "In the contest, the gingerbread house had to represent something about your school, and it had to be at least 75 percent edible. We decided to use our signature building, and our house is probably 95 percent edible – everything but the Rotunda dome, which had to be spray-painted."

The three-story gingerbread house, displayed during lunch Dec. 12 in the dining hall, was a team effort among ARAMARK employees, with the "creative team" consisting primarily on Audrey Dobson-Maliangos, pastry chef; George Maliangos, location manager; and Hannah Eure, assistant pastry chef. "It took about a month to make," said Dobson-Maliangos. "We couldn’t find blueprints to Ruffner, but we took measurements of the building by going over there and walking it and converting it to feet."

Features include:

  • A front walkway made of Hershey chocolate squares.
  • Columns made of candy canes (the hooks were removed).
  • A balustrade made of lollipop sticks and royal icing.
  • Window panes made of gellatin sheets, which are reflective as if it’s paned glass.
  • Miniature wreaths over each window. The wreaths were hand cut from larger candies and created with balls of candy.
  • Shutters made of royal icing.
  • Hand-drawn brick work (a stencil was created for the brick work) in which the mortar was piped in.
  • Inside the gingerbread house is a holiday tree made of gingerbread and candies. ("The tree is decorated to symbolize the grand illumination ceremony, which is a Longwood tradition," Dobson-Maliangos said.)
  • Potted pointsettias made of candies.
  • Benches made of crackers and icing behind the building.

The winner of the competition, which involves the Mid-Atlantic region (Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio), will be announced later this month. The winner will be featured in Mid-Atlantic Culinary Today, an online newsletter.