A Castle Made of Sugar That You Can't Eat
November 7, 2008 at 9:30 AM
The very first of chef Houdré's Sugar Castles, 2005.
Be honest: you know that part of the reason you watch those Food Network pulled-sugar competitions or crazy TV cake bakeoffs is to see the competing chefs' creations collapse, spectacularly implode or get dropped in a heap of empty calories and heartbreak on their way to the judging tables.
But the other part of your passion for such fine Food Network programming has to do with the fact that sugar sculptures are stunning works of art and perhaps the only edibles that you feel may best be appreciated with the eyes rather than the mouth -- since it's probably not delicious to eat solid sugar that's been pulled into crazy shapes or to eat a cake with more food coloring than sugar in the icing. You've gotta hand it to artists that can use sugar as a medium for their art.
And this year, one such artist, the Executive Pastry Chef at the Westin St. Francis in San Francisco, is looking to outdo everyone in the Bay Area with a twelve-foot rotating Sugar Castle for the holidays.
Jean-François Houdré, aka "King of the Castle," will be working on his masterpiece -- his fourth Sugar Castle since his tradition of the holiday sugar castle started in 2005 -- up until its unveiling in the Tower Lobby of The Westin St. Francis on Friday, November 28.
Made of pastillage (a combination of powdered sugar, egg whites and gelatin dough), gingerbread, sugar, molasses, flour and candy and weighing in at a whopping 1200 pounds, his holiday castle will have "more than 20 grand circular towers, approximately 30 rooms, illuminated windows, and is surrounded by a quaint village and a running train."
It is entirely possible that this thing may end up being larger than our entire apartment, but we'd hesitate to say we'd like to live in it because we'd probably eat the walls of our own home all Hansel and Gretel style. And then it would fall down, which we're pretty sure would not be as cool as it looks on TV.