Season's Eatings: Pastry Chefs Paint the Town Gingerbread

Story and Photos by Megan Smith [slideshow]

The holidays have officially arrived once again in the lobby of the Four Seasons Hotel Austin. A Christmas tree towers in the corner, illuminated with twinkling lights, while the fireplace is lined with an elaborate garland and Texas-themed holiday decorations. But, nothing compares to the display perfectly placed in the middle of the room — the hotel’s annual Gingerbread Village.

Every holiday season since the village’s beginning in 2003, the Four Seasons’ pastry chefs spend nearly 300 hours designing and creating the display that transforms the lobby into a winter wonderland. Last year, the village was inspired by Texas’ 175th anniversary of independence and featured some of the state’s most iconic buildings. This year, the display is ‘Eclectic Austin’ themed and includes many of the city’s famously weird attractions such as the Cathedral of Junk, the ‘Hi, How Are You?’ sign and Jo’s Coffee.

All the gingerbread houses are for sale as well, with proceeds benefiting the Seton Shivers Cancer Center, which provides patients with chemotherapy, rehabilitation services and biotherapy.

Admission is free and you don’t have to be a guest of the hotel to view the Gingerbread Village. The display runs through Jan. 1, 2013.