Tag Archives: wine

Café Noir – deliciousness report

We went, we marvelled at the mugs, we listened to sweet music, we drank delicious coffee, we sipped divinely good wine, and we devoured many, many decadent desserts. In short, Café Noir was made of awesome and I really hope we get to do it again next year. Thank you so much to everyone who baked for this lovely event! Especially big squeezes to Janice, Chantelle, Jan and the incomparable Karan.

Before I launch into a series of photos that I have dubbed “Desserts from every angle,” here are a few of the highlights from the Café Noir revelry. There are also more photos on the Arts Council Facebook page.

Cafe Noir 2015

Summerland Arts President David Finnis chatting to the sold out crowd.

Cafe Noir 2015 mugs

So hard to choose! The Summerland Potters Guild made more than 50 mugs.

Almost a Few

Sean Perdue and Dean Hanenberg of Almost a Few made gorgeous music all evening. Click the photo to go to their Facebook page.

lone tree coffee

After Darin from lone tree coffee had finished making me a frothy latte for my lovely new mug, I asked “Hey Darin, is this caffeinated?” The look says it all. Oh, yeah.

Sonoran Winery

Summerland wine with your desserts? Yes, please! The lovely owners of Sonoran Estate Winery not only brought their Oraniensteiner for us to try, they also brought their Happy Dragon fortified red wine, which cake lady extraordinaire Chantelle was happy to sample.

Sonoran Winery happy dragon

If you haven’t tried this wine yet, you need to! Sonoran is open noon-4pm on weekends for the winter. Seriously: #nomnomnom

Onward with the desserts! I am not certain who made some of them, but needless to say, they were thoroughly enjoyed by all.

white chocolate cardamom cake

Karan’s White Chocolate Cardamom Cake. So goooood.

desserts 1

I am pretty certain at least some of these treats can be attributed to the glorious Janice. 

Desserts from above

Desserts from above


The glasses are filled with a trifle of four chocolates, containing True Grain brownies drizzled with rum, a milk chocolate cream, white chocolate mousse and dark chocolate sauce.

Coconut Macaroons

Jan’s Coconut Macaroons. So delicious with coffee.

chocolate cake

Chocolate Cake. Who made this? You are splendid.


Chantelle’s Chocolate Truffle Cups (right) were filled with the richest, most glorious dark chocolate ganache.


It is not possible to have too many macaroons.


Brownie Bites? Don’t mind if I do.

desserts 1 desserts5 desserts7


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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.


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Full Fat February was Fabulous!

Full Fat February TableSometimes it takes a near miss to strike the perfect cord. Sometimes the full moon will light a new path. Sometimes you just have to keep working the icing until you find the right consistency.

There was a moment at the start of last week’s Full Fat February event when I thought our evening was about to be ruined. But what began as a disappointment quickly turned into one of our most hilarious and fun meetups to date.

After realizing I had our wires crossed with our original host at Crush Pad, the lovely Chantelle saved the day and we all headed to her office, which had a fancy coffee machine and -wouldn’t you know it – the perfect number of chairs.

Summerland Bakers Cake Meetup

Just when we settled in with our numerous delectables, which ranged from nutella brownies (also known as Chewy Richness Squares of Awesome) to mini strawberry cheesecakes and several very rich layer cakes, there came a knock at the door. And behold it was Mike from Okanagan Crush Pad, bearing both wine and glasses.

Not only did Mike bring us three varieties of Haywire Wine to try, the man knows a thing or two about baking. Anyone who makes more than a half a dozen attempts at the infamously difficult macarons and who carries photographic proof on his phone of his eventual macaron success, is essentially bound by law to join our baking club. I’m also pleased to announce that a future baking event will be held at Crush Pad after their patio opens for the new season.

Summerland Cakes and Wine

It was an excellent night. We welcomed two new members – Laura and Wendy – and we laughed a lot.

Thank you to all the bakers who fearlessly plunged the depths of decadence. Thank you to Chantelle for saving the day and to Mike for so thoroughly endearing yourself and Haywire Wine to our wee clan of bakers.

I shall post the recipes next time. There was some discussion about the March meetup having a St. Patrick’s theme. If that is the case, I would like to lay claim to making a chocolate Guinness Cake.


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Full Fat February!

Winter, you fiend. For the past week you have determined to hurt my face whenever I ventured outside, your polar fingers creeping through my coat and tickling my skin, making me shiver. I go nowhere without my mittens, sometimes even wearing them indoors.

Some may be lucky enough to escape to warmer climes during your moodiest months, but The Summerland Bakers have another plan in which to defeat you. We will beat you back with such BLATANT EXTRAVAGANCE that you will crumble before us, the buds of Spring breaking through the shattered ice sheathe of your chest. Ha! Take that.

Plan of Attack: Operation Full Fat February!

  • When: This Thursday, February 13, Approximately 6:30pm
  • Where: Okanagan Crush Pad (the addition of wine to our complex strategy of decadence will catch Winter unaware. Drinking rosé in winter is like unleashing a forest of hidden Summer cavalry).
  • What to bring: Bake anything decadent you like. (Full Fat February guideline: Even the thought of it should make you equally delighted and afraid). Show and tell: Bring your favourite cookbook with recipes you rarely dare to make.

So far it looks like we will be sampling some truly fabulous desserts:

  • Caramel Pecan Ice Cream cake
  • Cheesecake
  • Red Velvet Cake
  • Lemon Meringue Pie
  • Black Forest Cupcakes

Need to give winter a battering? Join us! Email me at pleasebringcake@gmail.com to join the Full Fat February fiasco.



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