By Dave Crawley

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Gingerbread Lane is a neighborhood where everything is in good taste.

It’s a seasonal tradition at the Shops at Station Square.

The “architect” of Gingerbread Lane is an executive chef named Jon Lovitch. The “construction site” is a small room in his condo.

“This is what bonds it together. It’s called royal icing.”

He spreads white icing over the cracks in the gingerbread walls.

“And if you’ve ever done any cake decorating, you know royal icing is standard cake icing. Once it sets is has the consistency of concrete.”

The village was nine months and 900 hours in the making.

“You go later and later every night,” the chef recalls. “There’s times in November when you’ve got to go to work, the sun’s coming up, and you go ‘Oh my goodness. I’ve got to be at work in four hours. Why am I doing this?’”

Looking over the display at Station Square, he says “There’s 142 houses. There’s 42 trees. There’s four subway cars. There’s four cable cars. There’s four train cars. There’s a subway station.”

The 86-pound Plum Pudding Hotel is the only structure in Gingerbread Lane made almost entirely of icing. The “brick work” is composed of nine thousand pieces of coffee-flavored chewing gum.

Though the village retains an enticing aroma, the ingredients have hardened. The exhibit is strictly “Look, don’t eat.” And when it all comes down in January?

The builder is philosophical.

“It’s good,” he says. “It’s almost cleansing, because you get rid of it and you can start working on next year.”

“Next year” begins in March.