Ahoy Matey! The S.S. Amelia Awaits

By Monica Gutos

Many ships have landed on the sandy shores of the First Coast throughout our history, but one boat in particular stands out: The S.S. Amelia. Each year in Amelia Island, The Ritz-Carlton welcomes the holiday season with a pirate ship. But you won’t find wooden planks or iron cannons aboard this vessel. This special ship is constructed entirely from gingerbread and other sugary sweet confections. The S.S Amelia is a culinary achievement of epic proportions. The 17-foot-long ship is the largest in the world and sits on display in The Ritz-Carlton lobby for guests and visitors from all over the world to admire.

Photo courtesy of Joe Murphy (2)Like any pirate ship, the gingerbread vessel features a mast with sails and a crow’s nest. Aboard the S.S. Amelia are gingerbread pirates, and new characters are added every year. This ship also features two cannons and cannon balls fashioned from the finest chocolates. Not even the minutest of details are spared. Guests may spot gingerbread characters standing next to chests of plunder labeled “nutmeg” and “sugar.”

The S.S. Amelia is, without a doubt, the most monumental dessert one can find on the First Coast. To concoct the gingerbread pirate ship, chefs use 1,200 pounds of flour, 900 pounds of sugar and 3,000 eggs—try fitting all that into your shopping cart! With ovens blazing and mixers buzzing, chefs work tirelessly to build the pieces used for the life-size ship. “On the Tuesday before the unveiling, a team of eight pastry chefs assembles over 1,000 pieces of gingerbread and uses over 200 pounds of royal frosting,” says Joe Murphy, director of public relations for The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island.… Read the rest