The Ritz-Carlton hotels in the DC area offer gingerbread house classes for children during the month of December. This is an excellent way to experience the tradition of gingerbread decorating without all the mess at home! My son and I attended the class at the Tysons Corner location on a Saturday at 10 am. We made our reservation in early October as most of the slots fill quickly.
When we arrived, we made sure to walk through the main entrance of the hotel. There was a life-size gingerbread house made with real ingredients. It smelled so wonderful. It was based on the Frozen theme and Olaf was made of Rice Krispy treats. Our classroom was on the 6th floor. Outside the classroom was a beverage station with fancy drinks including tea, hot cocoa, and coffee. We were also offered a small buffet of heavy snacks including pigs in a blanket, chicken fingers, popcorn and vegetables.
Inside the classroom, each child had a place setting with a large pre-assembled gingerbread house ready to go with royal icing in a frosting bag. Aprons, hats and one gingerbread cookie were in place for each child. The candy buffet was on display in large bowls in the front of the classroom. After a small instruction period with a pastry chef, children were invited to fill up their bowls with candy, pretzels and sprinkles to begin their decorating.
Gingerbread houses were on display throughout the room for children to admire and use for ideas towards their own masterpieces. Ritz-Carlton staff moved around the room to help children make marshmallow snowmen, icicles, and pretzel rod fences. When the children finished their houses, the staff took each house and placed them into a large box. These boxes used to make it easy to transport them home mess free.
The class lasted about 2 hours and are available Saturdays and Sundays in December. The cost is $75 per child, parents can attend for free. We recommend that you register early as spaces fill up quickly!
Photos by Andrea Verwys