Anyone with a small child has most likely played a game or two or three of Candy Land. But you’ve never seen a game board like this.
Wilton chef Pam Nicholas has created an allergen-free version of the tastiest of games as her entry in the Visions of Gingerbread: The Sweetest Architects IV” exhibition, on display at the Stamford Museum & Nature center now through Jan. 27.
Ms. Nicholas is the owner of Izzi B’s Allergen-Free Bakery in Norwalk, specializing in cakes, cupcakes, pies, and cookies that contain no nuts, no soy, no casein, no wheat, no trans-fat, no eggs, no dairy, and no added preservatives, artificial colors or flavors.
So how do you make a gingerbread Candy Land village with none of the above?
“It just takes love and good-quality ingredients and science,” she said. “I use things like rice flour, potato starch, sorghum, ginger, organic molasses. Most of the ingredients are organic,” she said.
She entered the contest last year as well and said she “looks at it as a challenge. I had never made a gingerbread house. I thought it would be fun to make something that goes along with the holidays.”
Ms. Nicholas invested 48 hours in making the Candy Land project. Adding in the assistance she got from her “helper elves,” that would bring it to 60 hours of work. It is the size of a regulation Candy Land game board.
Everything is here, from the playing pieces to the colored cards. The characters are made of gingerbread and the pathway is gingerbread with colored royal icing made of powdered sugar that does not include cornstarch. Mounds of “ice cream” are frosted cupcakes. Although she kept the Peppermint Forest, Ms. Nicholas took some poetic license, and Peanut Acres was renamed Pumpkin Seed Acres.
The candy is all allergy-free, right down to the black-and-white Necco wafers that simulate granite.
While the Candy Land gingerbread construction is a one-of-a-kind, Izzi B’s is offering gingerbread house kits for the holidays.
“We bake everything,” Ms. Nicholas said. “We give you the instructions on how to put it together with the royal icing. We give you the pastry bag and all the candy.”
The kit, which is $26.50, includes the house, a gingerbread tree and gingerbread people.
Kits may be ordered online at ibcakes.com or by calling 203-810-4378. They are also available at select stores and on amazon.com.
Other holiday treats include vegan butter cookies in the shapes of a Star of David and Christmas tree, gingerbread cupcakes topped with gingerbread men, and chocolate peppermint cupcakes. New this season are apple and pumpkin pies that may be purchased fresh or frozen.
Izzi B’s is not a walk-in bakery, but items may be picked up. Delivery and shipping are also available.
Ms. Nicholas has lived in Wilton for four years with her family, and her daughter Isabella (Izzi B) is in first grade.
Ms. Nicholas had a career as a restaurant chef, but when Isabella was a year old, she discovered she had an egg allergy.
“I was doing a lot of research and found out about all the food intolerances. If this was hard for me as a chef, I could imagine what it would be like for someone else,” she said. “There just isn’t enough out there … everyone deserves a treat. The second I moved here I found a space and got started.”
Izzi B’s is now in its third year of business, and its goods are sold in 30 stores from New Haven to New York City. Izzi B products are available at the Village Market and Caraluzzi’s in Wilton and Ancona’s in Ridgefield.
Visitors to the Stamford Museum & Nature Center’s “Visions of Gingerbread” exhibition may vote for their favorite entry.