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Pequa Sweet On Ginger Houses

When it comes to gingerbread houses, Massapequa supplies the creative force and the inspiration.

The neighborhood was well represented in a Long Island themed gingerbread competition last weekend, as a confectionary creation modeled after Massapequa maintstay All American Burger won the top prize and an area resident took home the people’s choice award.

Hicksville resident Jean Schapowal won first place for her Burger joint conception and young Massapequan Isabelle Najah snagged the popular people’s choice.

In an effort to create a fun holiday tradition in Farmingdale, The Chocolate Duck and the Downtown Master Plan Implementation Committee, hosted the Long Island themed gingerbread competition this past Saturday. Eight people entered the contest, however, only three were able to complete their 100 percent edible masterpieces.

Schapowal spent days putting her product together which consisted of taking photos of the restaurant, making an oak tag model, baking the gingerbread, and then arranging and decorating. She had never built a gingerbread house before, but she had gotten her skills from baking and decorating contest-winning cakes.

“I wanted to do something different than everyone would think of. All American Burger was featured on Man vs. Food, so I knew everyone would know of it,” she said. “Most of All American Burger has glass around it, and I wanted to also make my sculpture incorporate the glass, so I got isomalt cubes. I also made hamburgers and hot dogs out of fondant. I wanted to make it as close to the original as possible.”

Second place winner Amy Donnolo, of Farmingdale, who built a gingerbread vineyard that lit up. She was inspired by cake competitions on Food Network that often have lit up cakes. She had never built a gingerbread house before, but got her baking skills from attending culinary school. Her parents helped her wire it up, and she melted butterscotch candies for the windows and made barrels out of fondant.

“It took about three days to put it all together. I’m here all the time, I do a lot of cake decorating, so once I heard about the competition I definitely knew I was going to enter,” said Donnolo. “My mom and dad helped wire it up, so it would light up, I was really excited about it.”

Store visitors voted 11-year-old Najah’s creation as the people’s choice. Najah made a decked out holiday house that had gingerbread people at the doorway, ice cream cone pine trees, and even a holiday tree in the window. Najah said she has been making gingerbread houses ever since she was three years old, and always makes gingerbread with her grandma. Her grandfather came up with the dimensions for the house and she came up with the design.

“I spent all week doing this in-between school and activities. I decorated the whole house. I’m probably going to display it in my grandma’s house or eat it after,” she said.

Winners won cash and gift cards.