By OnMilwaukee Staff Writers   Published Dec 16, 2013 at 1:56 PM

The judges scores are in, and Franklin resident Kimberly Thalman has the best house on the block. If by house, you mean gingerbread house, and if by block, you mean the entire United States.

Thalman, an employee at C. Adam's Bakery in the Milwaukee Public Market, won top prize at the 21st annual National Gingerbread House Competition, hosted last month in Asheville, N.C. Thalman's first place edible entrant, a gingerbread sculpture of two pandas munching on bamboo, netted her a very sweet $5,000 check, along with several other prizes.

Thalman began working on the scrumptious structure back in October. She then had to carefully drive the delicate creation down to Asheville. 

The 150 total entries for the competition were judged on five categories: appearance, originality and creativity, difficulty, precision and consistency of theme. Over than the base, the gingerbread houses – which don't actually have to be houses – had to be comprised entirely of edible materials, and at least 75 percent of the main structure needed to be made of gingerbread.

For those wondering, Thalman said her winning work is still in one piece, currently on display in a case at the Omni Grove Park Inn in Asheville that hosted the event. One assumes the taste of victory, however, is more satisfying in this case than the taste of gingerbread.