There’s a popular saying that “everything is bigger in Texas.” This holiday season Hilton Americas-Houston’s Pastry Chef Mahesh Weerasinghe (trained by award-winning chocolatier Chef Rudy Wieder) has teamed with returning Pastry Chef Glenna Artripe (an award-winning culinary artist, with expertise in chocolate sculpture) to create a hand-sculpted holiday display that will turns visions of sugar plums into visions of chocolate!
The one-of-a-kind holiday confection is on exhibit to the public in the main hotel lobby throughout the holidays, located at 1600 Lamar Street (connected directly to the George R. Brown Convention Center in downtown Houston). The hand-sculpted chocolate display weighs in at over 1.5 tons, is over 7.6 million calories, and includes 3, 300 pounds of chocolate. For the first time ever, the display is in full-color chocolate (painted with colored chocolate), compared to the first holiday-chocolate display built in 2013.
Santa Claus, along with his elves and reindeer, are joined this year by a chocolate sleigh, Olaf from the 2013 animated Disney film “Frozen,” Dr. Seuss’ Grinch, and a gingerbread village all set on a poured milk chocolate floor, sculpted to replicate weathered boards.
Approximately 1,000 man-hours and four months of creative work and construction went into the making of this intricately carved and sculpted confectionary creation. The process included melting the chocolate, letting it cool to a malleable consistency, building the chocolate up, and using artist’s wood and clay carving tools to etch out the imagery. When it’s not on display, the chocolate sculptures remain in a cold storage and is sealed with lacquer to ensure its longevity.