Every year since 1997, James Boussy and James Glucksman of Oamaru’s luxury Pen-y-bryn Lodge have created a gingerbread house as part of their Christmas decorations. From a simple house-shaped version in that first year, the pair quickly progressed to more elaborate creations, each one based on a building that they visited during the previous year. The first of these was Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, followed by such monuments as Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral, Beijing’s Lama Temple, and Christchurch’s Christ Church Cathedral.
This year, the Jameses’ travels took them to a number of places with beautiful “gingerbread-worthy” buildings, but when they got to Bruges in Belgium’s West Flanders region, and caught sight for the first time of the town’s Belfort, they knew they had found this year’s gingerbread house.
The Belfort of Bruges (also known as the Bruges Belfry) is 83 metres tall, 44 metres wide and 84 metres deep, and was first built in 1240, though the tower was rebuilt in 1280 after a fire. The gingerbread version was constructed out of 4.5 kg of flour, 1.5 kg of molasses and 1.2 kg of butter. As is traditional, the gingerbread house is completely edible, though the Jameses do not actually eat their creations at the end of the holiday season. Instead, it goes on display at a local Oamaru gourmet shop for a few weeks before being discarded.
You can view more photos of the gingerbread Belfort, and the Jameses’ earlier gingerbread creations, at their online gallery by clicking here.