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Monday, November 19 , 2018, 2:15 am | Fair 48º


Bacara Spices Up Christmas with a Gingerbread Mission

Executive pastry chef Ben Galang's replica of the "Queen of the Missions" looks good enough to eat.

Bacara Resort & Spa pastry cook Zi Nguyen, left, and executive pastry chef Ben Galang pose with their gingerbread mission masterpiece.
Bacara Resort & Spa pastry cook Zi Nguyen, left, and executive pastry chef Ben Galang pose with their gingerbread mission masterpiece. (Wendy Jenson / Bacara Resort & Spa photo)

Gingerbread is as much a part of the Christmas season as, well, the mission is to Santa Barbara.

Taking the theme and baking with it, Bacara Resort & Spa executive pastry chef Ben Galang was inspired to put it all together into one sweet creation. The masterpiece of confection, a three-foot-tall replica of Santa Barbara’s renowned mission, is on display through Jan. 5 at Bacara’s Bistro restaurant, 8301 Hollister Ave.

Galang, who studied mechanical engineering in his native Philippines, first considered recreating the Santa Barbara County Courthouse before deciding to pay tribute to the “Queen of the Missions.” The gingerbread replica has the same proportions and graceful lines as the original adobe, only this one smells faintly of aromatic spices.

The recipe Galang cooked up includes 240 pounds of gingerbread, 30 pounds of egg whites and sugar, five pounds of homemade candy and three pounds of chocolate. “Plus the secret ingredients that are vision and a ton of patience,” said Bacara spokeswoman Wendy Jenson.

For five-straight days, Galang and his team labored over the holiday house, painstakingly constructing the sides and roof, and adorning it with Tootsie Rolls, chocolate-covered raisins, white chocolate coins and M&M’s.

Hansel and Gretel, from the Brothers Grimm fairy tale, would love the tempting result,” Jenson said.

But you can’t have the cake and eat it, too.

“After all the time and effort invested, the makers won’t, as per tradition, be eating this gingerbread creation on Christmas Day,” said Jenson, who added that The Bistro had plenty of other tasty temptations on its dessert menu.

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