(The 2023 Gingerbread Masterpiece took on the theme of “Neuschwanstein Castle,” celebrating one of the most visited castles in Europe. Photo courtesy of The Benson Portland, Curio Collection by Hilton)
The newly renovated Portland hotel continues its time-honored holiday tradition with an elaborate gingerbread display of Neuschwanstein Castle.
PORTLAND, Ore. (November 30, 2023) – The Benson Portland, part of the Curio Collection by Hilton, invites the public back once again to see its Gingerbread Masterpiece, a beloved 52-year holiday tradition. This year, the historic hotel unveiled a giant replica of Neuschwanstein Castle, a beautiful sight which inspired the creator and captured the imaginations of millions around the world.The event took place yesterday in the grand lobby, surrounded by festive trimmings. The masterpiece will be on display through December 30.
Tucked away in the German Alps, Neuschwanstein is one of the most popular of all the palaces of Europe. The artistry and attention to detail inspired Walt Disney to model his castle after it. Like Disney, Neuschwanstein’s original owner was a dreamer and a creative. He built it as a tribute to his favorite pieces of art and poetry. Every wall tells a story of love, heartbreak, triumph and failure — much like Disney’s movies do.
The Benson invites visitors to admire “the castle of the fairy-tale king,” with its dainty turrets, cylindrical towers and Romanesque features, which made it the perfect architectural model for both Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty. This majestic creation is made entirely of confectionary delights, with over 150 pounds of house-made gingerbread, 50 pounds of marzipan, 20 pounds of chocolate, 10 pounds of Rice Krispies treats and buckets of royal icing.
Accomplished architect and professional pastry chef David Diffendorfer has been revered as the culinary mastermind behind the renowned annual gingerbread display for three decades. A graduate of the Western Culinary Institute, he studied industrial design at the Art Institute of Portland, earned a degree in geography and taught baking and pastry at the Art Institute for eight years. His past masterpieces for The Benson include Château Loire, Saint Vitus Cathedral and his first American castle, Biltmore House. For a gallery of Chef Diffendorfer’s past creations, visit www.gingerbreadcities.com.
“With this special, time-honored tradition, we are delighted to bring tidings of comfort and joy to our guests throughout December,” said Dan Carlino, general manager of The Benson Portland. “We are so thrilled to have Chef Diffendorfer continue to create these works of art for us and that he has shared his holiday magic with our community for the past 30 years.”
While visiting The Benson Portland and the gingerbread masterpiece on display, guests are invited to make the holidays brighter for countless children in our community this holiday season by bringing a new, unwrapped toy to support the annual Fox 12 Les Schwab Tire Centers Toy Drive. Toy donations can be dropped off at The Benson’s hotel lobby through December 10.
For more information on the 2023 Gingerbread Masterpiece and The Benson Portland, please visit www.bensonhotel.com.
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About The Benson Portland, Curio Collection by Hilton
Established in 1913, the historic Benson Hotel is the city’s only premier hotel that unites the charm and civility of the Old World with the elegance of contemporary design and mindful service. In homage to the hotel’s namesake, Simon Benson, guests are invited to experience legendary service, European design, opulently sized guest rooms and suites, five-star dining and an acclaimed lobby bar. The Benson seeks to cultivate the best in all of us. For more information, visit www.bensonhotel.com. If you would like to stay in touch, please like The Benson Hotel on Facebook or follow @TheBensonHotel on Twitter and Instagram.