(The 2019 Gingerbread Masterpiece, “Portland Union Station” celebrates the city’s historic train station. Photos courtesy of The Benson, a Coast Hotel.)
PORTLAND, Ore. (December 9, 2019) – The Benson Hotel’s 48-year holiday tradition continues as the property invites the public to view this year’s Gingerbread Masterpiece. Designed and built by professional pastry chef David Diffendorfer for the 27th consecutive year, this year’s sculpture brings a sense of familiarity and nostalgia with its elaborate candy-and-gingerbread representation of Portland’s historic Union Station. A magnificent display of 300 poinsettias and a 20-foot Douglas fir Christmas tree surround the Gingerbread Masterpiece, which is available for public viewing in the lobby through December 26.
An iconic building in Portland, Union Station was constructed in 1896 and has been in continuous operation since then. Union Station was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975 and acts as an arrival point for people interested in exploring “The City of Roses.”
Chef Diffendorfer’s intricate design incorporates distinctive aspects of this landmark, including its molded brick structure and 50-foot clock tower. A railroad track loops around the station with a train in Christmas colors, and in the background is the famous “White Stag” (Portland, Oregon) sign.
This year’s sculpture was crafted entirely by hand, taking Chef Diffendorfer 300 hours to complete, and required approximately 200 pounds of gingerbread, 50 pounds of chocolate and 30 pounds of marzipan.
“The Gingerbread Masterpiece has been a wonderful tradition here in Portland, but this season we wanted to put a new spin on it to honor our city’s superb history with the creation of Union Station,” said George Schweitzer, The Benson Hotel’s managing director. “We are so thankful that Chef Diffendorfer is as dedicated to this celebration as we are, having created these works of art for us for the past 27 years.”
Previous gingerbread creations by Chef Diffendorfer include representations of Corvin Castle, Lichtenstein Castle, Château de Chenonceau, Château Loire, St. Vitus Cathedral, Neuschwanstein Castle and Boldt Castle, as well as several of his own designs, including “Santa’s North Pole,” “The Isles of Gingerbread,” “An Austrian Hillside Town” and his first American castle, “Biltmore House.” For a full gallery of Chef Diffendorfer’s past creations, please visit.
While the annual viewing of The Benson Hotel’s Gingerbread Masterpiece is free, attendees are encouraged to donate new, unwrapped toys toan 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. Arts & crafts, plastic toys and gift cards make great gifts for the year-round Chemo Pal toy closet. (Due to the compromised immune systems of many of the children the association serves, it is unable to accept clothes, stuffed animals or other cloth toys.)
Adding to the festivities, the hotel recently announced the opening of its new “Historic Stairwell,” a twelve-story exhibition of photographs documenting the hotel’s and Portland’s histories. The Benson Hotel was built in 1912, undergoing over 100 years of transformation and many notable and celebrated moments. This stairwell provides guests with a truly authentic and unique experience as they learn more about what makes the hotel what it is today.
For more information about this year’s Gingerbread Masterpiece, the Historic Stairwell or The Benson Hotel, please visit.
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ABOUT THE BENSON HOTEL
Established in 1913, the historic Benson Hotel combines European elegance and charm with modern luxuries. Located in the heart of downtown Portland near sightseeing, tax-free shopping, nightlife, performing arts and museums, The Benson features 287 guestrooms and suites with high-definition LCD televisions, high-speed wireless, alarm clocks with iPod/MP3 stations, organic bamboo robes and slippers, Sealy® Tempur-Pedic sleep-system beds and more. The property is also home to The Palm Court restaurant and bar, as well as more than 18,000 square feet of versatile meeting and event space. For more information, visit. If you would like to stay in touch, please like on Facebook or follow on Twitter and Instagram.
ABOUT THE CHILDREN’S CANCER ASSOCIATION
The Children’s Cancer Association offers innovative programs that create joy for seriously ill children, teens and their families. The organization has grown to one of the largest children’s health nonprofits in the Northwest, with annual revenue of over $6 million and award-winning programs that reach children in all 50 states.