Big Build: Castle Howard with Bompas & Parr

I've just finished working on one of the biggest and most exciting projects to date, with famous jellymongers/architects/food designers Bompas & Parr - a 2.5m by 3.5m gingerbread model of Castle Howard in Yorkshire.  After months of planning and weeks of baking and decorating it's now installed in the main house and will be on display until Christmas.

Castle Howard in gingerbread

Castle Howard in gingerbread

Having been a fan of Bompas & Parr for such a long time, it was a total joy to be asked to collaborate with them on such an amazing project.  Along with the main house, there are 7 other buildings from the estate, including the Temple of The Four Winds, Mausoleum, and Carlisle’s Obelisk, as well as a working train that winds its way throughout the Christmas landscape!  The Bompas & Parr team produced detailed architects’ plans for each one, which I translated into templates and then hand cut and baked all the component parts with the help of my assistants.

Creating cardboard templates for each building.

Creating cardboard templates for each building.

Assembling the adjacent buildings.

Assembling the adjacent buildings.

When it came to the assembly and decoration, each building brought its own challenges, from making the structural columns for the Temple Of The Four Winds, to reproducing the intricate wrought iron structure at the top of the Earl's Monument. I had lots of fun trying to work out the best way to make each piece, using detailed photos of the estate as reference and felt like I got to know them intimately.

The completed Temple of The Four Winds.

The completed Temple of The Four Winds.

The Earl's Monument.

The Earl's Monument.

Castle Howard itself is depicted as it was originally designed by Sir John Vanbrugh, back in 1699.  I recreated the distinctive stonework patterns using hand piped icing and pastillage on each of the facades, and showed off the splendour of the domes by adding touches of edible gold.

Piped detailing on the main house.

Piped detailing on the main house.

The golden dome, seen through the Carmirre Gate.

The golden dome, seen through the Carmirre Gate.

After driving up from London (spotting the real life Gate House, Carmirre Gate, Obelisk & Earl's Monument on the way) we spent a day assembling the landscape, carefully positioning each building and adding finishing touches including snowy Christmas trees and the train track.

The train station.

The train station.

The little gingerbread train winding its way through the landscape.

The little gingerbread train winding its way through the landscape.

It’s on display from now until Christmas, set up in one of the rooms used for the set of the 1981 TV series Brideshead Revisited, so if you’re in Yorkshire over the festive period be sure to go and take a look.  They’ve also got some truly stunning Christmas decoration displays throughout the rest of the house, it’s the perfect place to get in the Christmas spirit.

Castle Howard at Christmas. (photo by Castle Howard)

Castle Howard at Christmas. (photo by Castle Howard)

Castle Howard overview (credit - bompas and parr).jpg