“Just keep going; don’t slow down.” After reading the instructions for ascending the long, steep driveway to Grape Escape Guest House, I imagined throttling my Subaru uphill while simultaneously attempting to keep hold of my enormous pumpkin cake. The daydream ended badly, with one tire hitting a large bump, followed by a virtual explosion of orange and green icing.
In the end, carpooling seemed a better alternative, and what a hilarious good time it was, for I got to keep both hands balancing my monstrosity of a cake while Lisa led the charge to the top. When we rounded the final corner, the yellow house rose up before us, casting a glow in the gloaming the colour of the late autumn sun.
I’m so pleased owners Gerri and George included the word “Escape” when naming their business, for it is just that – a large, warm Okanagan sanctuary. I have a dream of running away with my husband to a place just like this, with one truckload of provisions and another of books, and a plan not to emerge for at least six months.
The theme for the month was Halloween, and our wee clan of bakers were treated to lit pumpkins greeting us at the door, another on the table, and Gerri’s homemade “cauldron of smokey soup” to get us started before we ran the gauntlet of treats.
And what treats there were. Tiny chocolate bellied spiders with cherry liquorice legs, fresh pumpkin bread, chocolate coffin cake with meringue bones, orange cheesecake with tiny mice scampering about on top, a chocolate tomb tiffin, beautiful spider webbed sugar cookies and Florentines, candy corn with fennel, and peanut butter “dead men’s treats.”
There was even a quiz to test our Halloween knowledge. For example, did you know that if you want to see a witch on Halloween night, you should put your clothes on inside out and walk around backwards? The winner of the quiz, with 9 out of 11 points, was Lisa, who got to take home a bottle of Grape Escape Vineyard’s 2012 Pinot Blanc.
Thank you to Gerri and Robyn for hosting such a lovely evening, and for all the bakers who came out and dared to face the certain sugar hangover. I will post the recipes next time.
Next month: Our first “Free-from” gathering will see bakers experimenting with healthy alternatives, including wheat free, gluten free, or sugar free.
Date: Wednesday, November 13
Place: Cherry Tree Quilts