World's largest gingerbread village wows, but don't be tempted to take a bite

A delectable-looking gingerbread village, sadly never to be eaten.

That's what New York Chef Jon Lovitch created, while simultaneously nabbing the title world’s largest edible gingerbread village.  Certified by the Guinness Book of World Records last week, this real life Candyland has 152 houses, 65 candy trees, five trains, and even an underground subway station.

Made with homemade candy and a custom-designed gingerbread recipe, the delectable behemoth clocks in at over 1.5 tons -- making it the largest edible gingerbread village ever built.

Lovitch told he began the project in February, baking all of the pieces in his tiny Bronx apartment. He kept the spare parts in an extra bedroom before moving them to the New York Hall of Science in Queens for final assembly.

Many candy villages use chocolate or even inedible materials, such as glue, to fit the pieces together, but GingerBread Lane is one solid mass of just three main components. With 2,240 pounds of icing, 400 pounds of candy and 500 pounds of gingerbread dough, this village is any dentist’s worst nightmare. Talk about a sugar rush.

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Lovitch, who is the executive sous chef of the New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge, says he's thankful for the support of his company during the holiday project. After coming home from work, he would spend four or five hours-sometimes more-- baking and building. “I’ve become a bit nocturnal during the fall,” Lovitch he said. “Sometimes I’m still working when my wife wakes up to go to work in the morning.”

Lovitch's passion for gingerbread projects began almost 20 years ago and he has shown his displays in Washington, D.C., Kansas City and Pittsburgh.

Knowing the village this year would be exhibited in such a large space, he said he was inspired to go big.

“This year, being in New York City, I just wanted something really imaginative to go with the whole theme of science.  It’s just whimsical, so I wanted to play with the height and largeness of the space,” he said.

Aside from creating his own gingerbread recipe – a true “kitchen sink” effort that sometimes involves switching pancake mix for traditional flour - Lovitch believes handmade candies really add that extra something special to his designs. “I like using reindeer corn, handmade candy canes and cut rock candy. They really hold up so much better than the drug store varieties.”

And gingerbread villages don’t come cheap. Lovitch funded the entire project and says he spent "a few thousand dollars," although he didn't reveal an exact figure. The effort apparently paid off with his Guinness Book of World Records title.

The village will be on display until the beginning of January 12, after which lucky visitors will have the chance to receive a piece of this enormous confection --just for a keepsake.  Biting the months-old cookies would probably crack a tooth.

“People usually keep their houses as a display item, but somebody asked me in January if they could eat it. I said, ‘If there’s an apocalyptic episode and there’s nothing else around, then yah!’”