PopUp Wine Country 2013: Dinner in White

I’ll come clean.  The first time I heard of pop-up dinners in white was on Top Chef.  The next time was in a Groupon for Le Diner a SF.  I missed the window to buy the cheaper tickets so one day, I found myself on the Handmade Events website.  It was there that I learned about the PopUp Wine Country dinner in white.  I had to go.

The concept was so alluring.  You sign up to get the email updates.  Then one day, they start selling tickets.  But all you know is the date and that the dinner is happening “somewhere in the Sonoma wine country”.  Then on the day of the event, you get another email disclosing the location.  Hundreds of people descend on that location at the specified time, dressed in their finest white, armed with their best table decor, and equipped with their tastiest provisions and friends.  You bring everything you need for your little party, other than the table, the chairs, the music, and the location.  Another thing that jumped out was that it was a leave-no-trace event.  Guests are encouraged to use real dishes, real knives and forks, and to take any trash and recycling they generate back home.

So the idea was hatched.  Our party of four would be me, Boy, my brother and sister-in-law for some sibling good times.  But that’s just where it started.

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Homemade lemon peeps

Who doesn’t love a good marshmallow?  What’s more, who doesn’t love a Peep?  They’re cute, perfect for Easter, and you can bite their little adorable heads off.

Making homemade marshmallows is surprisingly easy.  I’ve made a wide variety of flavors (plain, mint, mint chocolate, chocolate chip).  With Easter approaching, I wanted to do something a bit more springy and use my new bunny-shaped cookie cutter.

Lemon peeps

Cutting out the peeps

Head over to my sister-in-law’s blog, Sodium Girl, to check out the full recipe.

Playing with fondant

In December 2008, my brother, my sister and I took a private cake decorating class.  It was my first foray into the world of fondant (at least my first foray other than eating it).  For a few hours, we rolled fondant, dyed it with coloring gel, and decorated square cakes to look like presents.

Recently, I was gifted a variety of Fondarific fondant samples.  It was a range of colors and flavors, each one was maybe 2 or 3 ounces.  Not a ton, but enough to play with and make some tiny cakes.  So that’s clearly what I had to do!

To start, I made a mini present cake, covered in white fondant, wrapped with an orange buttercream fondant bow, and I used some strawberry fondant and my Ateco mini shape cutters to cut out diamonds.  The bow didn’t come out quite as well as in our cake class but I plead tiny-is-harder-to-make.  Plus it’s been a few years…

The next attempt was a fondant flower cake, using alternating thin rolls of melon green fondant and buttercream green fondant and cherry red and strawberry pink fondant for the flowers. I also used Wilton sugar pearls to adorn the inside of the flowers.  It was my second flower attempt, after trying hydrangeas about a year prior.

All in all, they were fun (and tasty) experiments in cake decorating!