This 32-Foot Model Train Is A Chocolate Lover's Dream

Model trains have long been associated with Christmas decorations. Maybe you remember the old Lionel set that used to run around your Christmas tree when you were a kid; or, the elaborate, sprawling holiday village displays filled with fake snow, twinkling plaster houses, and railroad tracks in storefront windows; or maybe even watching "The Polar Express" with your family. There's something about hearing the wheels run on the tracks and seeing the smoke from the electric locomotive that really makes it feel like the holidays. 

As for why model trains are so entwined with the Christmas season, The National Railroad Museum credits the popularity of Christmas trains with nostalgic feelings of cross-country trips or relatives riding in on a train to visit family at the festive time of year. But, while you may just have had a simple toy train running around your tree as a kid, there are those who take model railroading very seriously, especially around Christmas.

For example, Entertrainment Junction, located in West Chester, Ohio, is credited with having the world's largest indoor train display, with two miles (25,000 feet) of railroad track sprawling through detailed cityscapes and country hills (via Spectrum News). But, one hotel in Florida has an impressive train display of their own — a massive, 32-foot long train set that sits proudly in the lobby. While it may not be as sprawling or as vast as what they have in Ohio, this Christmas train isn't made of metal or tin and doesn't even run at all! That's because it's made entirely of pure chocolate

It took 1,000 hours and 800,000 cocoa beans to make

If you're in Florida visiting relatives for Christmas, or planning to head there to escape the winter blues, you may want to head to the Caribe Royale Orlando hotel. In the lobby, you'll notice an enormous train set, adorned with Christmas lights and carrying a cargo of snowmen and Christmas trees. You may even notice a faint aroma of chocolate in the air. That's because the entire "Caribe Royale North Pole Express" train — from the stones beneath the tracks to the engine and the cars — is made entirely of chocolate. Designed by the hotel's executive pastry chef Joshua Cain, it took over 1,000 hours to create with the hotel's three-person pastry team fully assembling the display. Even more impressive, it required a staggering 800,000 cocoa beans to produce enough chocolate for the 4.5-million calorie creation (via Food & Wine).

Cain looked at older steam locomotives from the 1800s for inspiration, such as the Jupiter locomotive and the Virginia and Truckee Railroad's No. 12 Genoa train. In a statement made to Travel + Leisure, Cain noted that the design of those early locomotives, with their intricate moving parts, fascinated him and helped him to nail down even the smallest details of his sugary-sweet steam engine. While the display is beautiful — and tempting for those chocolate lovers to snag a tiny piece of — it seems the train won't be on anyone's Christmas dessert list, as it's apparently just for show.