June meetup: Appetizers, hummingbirds, wine and more

Her life was a clutter of pleasures.

Sometimes there is a line that gets in my way and I can’t proceed until I let it stand like a billboard all alone at the mountaintop of the page. Today’s line reads like the opening line of a biography that I would like to read.

“A clutter of pleasures” is the best way to describe our June meetup. If you missed it, I hope this wee blog post will give you a sense of the enjoyment we all experienced.

First of all, Grape Escape Guest House is gorgeous. It is a vibrant, romantic nook carved into a rolling vista along the voluptuous curves of Garnet Valley. So imagine being spoiled with a grand gathering of delicious appetizers when you already have views for which you would willingly starve.

Grape Escape Guest House

We spent most of our time in a wee sun room where we were treated to a dramatic display of dozens of hummingbirds visiting the row of feeders that hung at eye level. It was like a painting come to life and we were all enthralled.

The sun was slowly starting to dip into the valley, and before we even dove into the appetizers, there was chilled wine made by co-owner George. Refreshing Pinot Gris, crisp Pinot Blanc, dreamy Summer Blend.

HummingbirdHummingbird watchinga moment for wineAdded to this was the adventure of more new bakers. Welcome to Lana and Lisa H (we now have three bakers named Lisa. We debated all changing our names to Lisa for simplicity’s sake). Thank you also to Wendy who dragged her friend Jamie with her to bake night rather than miss out.

A note regarding the dedication of our regular bakers: Laura put off her holiday for a day so she could go to bake night. That’s right – we have become more important than timely holidays.

Of course there was copious eating. With the theme being appetizers, all of the dishes were savoury, although it did seem that we replaced sugar with a truly impressive variety and volume of cheese. There were also caramelized onions, olives, prosciutto, pine nuts, and the best kale chips ever. I promise to post the recipes next time.

Summerland Bakers Appetizers

buds on the grapsAfter we had eaten and our cheeks held that rosy glow from good food combined with good wine, we got to go on a vineyard tour with George. We were a studious lot, learning the basics of tucking the vines and how the east and west sides of the vines are managed differently for optimum sunlight and warmth. The vines boasted tiny nubs of future grapes, some still with a miniature flourish of white flowers that held a delicate, sweet scent.

“I’ve heard this before,” said Gerri, who busied herself with more vine tucking as George talked about grape varieties and southern exposures. When we finally decided that the mosquitoes had gorged enough, we headed back to the house and there was the adorable moment when George accidentally locked Gerri in the vineyard.

vineyard tour

tucking the vinesSun in the vinesSunset at Grape Escape GuesthouseLocked in the vineyard

By then the sun was truly setting, bathing the vineyard in a deep yellow glow. We had enough time to attempt Gerri’s extremely difficult quiz. Wendy was the winner with 50%, and took home her own bottle of George’s wine. The rest of us were terribly jealous. Think you could do better on the quiz? Try it. No internet cheating! I’ll post the answers next time.

We were all smiling as we packed up our leftovers and headed out. In less than three hours we had experienced a perfect harmony of delights for our senses, from the sight of the hummingbirds and the sun glinting off everything, to the feel of the vines between our fingers, the aroma and flavours of wine lovingly made, and of our collective creative kitchen adventures. It was truly perfect.

Thank you again to Gerri and George for hosting our group. If you should ever desire an escape from the world, get yourself to Grape Escape Guest House and just let all the good things happen.

Recipes (and quiz answers) next time. Until then my friends, I hope your lives are cluttered with pleasures.

Cheers

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Filed under meetups, Sophia's ramblings

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