Newly Renovated, The Benson Hotel to Host Annual Gingerbread Masterpiece on December 2 | The Benson Hotel

Newly Renovated, The Benson Hotel to Host Annual Gingerbread Masterpiece on December 2

Side view of the Benson Gingerbread house highlighting the lake.

The historic Portland hotel’s established holiday ritual begins with an unveiling of magnificent gingerbread display.


The 48-year holiday tradition continues as The Benson Hotel invites the public to the unveiling of this year’s Gingerbread Masterpiece. The architectural feat promises only one hint to this year’s theme: “an iconic red nose always knows the time.”

“The Gingerbread Masterpiece is a tradition we’re honored to bring back every holiday season. Chef Diffendorfer always creates such beautiful masterpieces, ” said George Schweitzer, Managing Director of The Benson. “This year, we’re also excited to share the unveiling of our new Historic Stairwell that honors the history of our beloved city. We encourage all who come to visit both works of arts!”


Monday, December 2, 2019
4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.


The annual unveiling will take place at The Benson Hotel’s grand lobby, surrounded by festive trimmings of more than 300 poinsettias and a magnificent 20-foot Douglas Fir Christmas tree. Attendees can enjoy delicious cookies, hot cider and live holiday music as the anticipation builds to view this year’s Gingerbread Masterpiece. The event is free and open to the public.

For 27 years, culinary artist Chef Diffendorfer has created massive, sprawling landscapes from Santa’s North Pole to a historical replica of downtown Portland. This year’s display required approximately 200 pounds of gingerbread and 30 pounds of white chocolate, 15 pounds of dark chocolate and 30 pounds of marzipan to create. Chef Diffendorfer began his career as The Benson Hotel’s gingerbread creator 27 years ago. A graduate from the Western Culinary Institute, Chef Diffendorfer served as The Benson’s pastry chef. He was a student of Industrial Design at the Art Institute of Portland, earned a degree in geography, and taught baking and pastry at the Institute for 8 years.

The masterpiece will be on display through December 26. Attendees are encouraged to donate new, unwrapped toys to Children’s Cancer Association, an organization founded in Portland that offers innovative programs that create joy for seriously ill children, teens and their families. The Benson is accepting gifts from November 29 through December 19. Due to the compromised immune systems of many of the children the Children’s Cancer Association serves, they are unable to accept clothes, stuffed animals or other cloth toys. Arts & crafts, toys and gift cards make great gifts for the Chemo Pal toy closet that is accessed by the CA’s Chemo Pal mentors year-round.

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